Nagen Saikia, winner of the Sahitya Academy Award, and the former president of the Asom Sahitya Sabha, has called for the creation of a separate state for Barak Valley to maintain peace and tranquility. The comments were made in the backdrop of the recent incidents in the Barak Valley.
Recently, a hoarding of the Jal Jeevan Mission, written in Assamese language had been put up in Silchar, the largest city in the Barak Valley. This caused some sections of the society to take affront, since Bangla is the official language in this part of the state. A select few among these took the effort to deface the hoarding with black ink, while calls for its removal has been more prominent.
This incident along with many others, has been a source for contention in the Brahmaputra Valley as well. The people of this region have seen the incident as an affront to their language and culture. Calls for arrests to be made in this regard have also been made. The police have arrested two individuals in connection to the defacing incident. Both of them are on bail currently.
This incident is one of many in recent times that has stroked the sentiments of people from both the Barak Valley and the Brahmaputra Valley. Nagen Saikia’s comments came in the backdrop of these incidents. Mr. Saikia believes that providing statehood status to the Barak Valley region will allow for the distinct cultures to live peacefully. The end goal, he states is to ensure that there is communal peace in the state.
His comments have found some validation from some segments of the society. Barak valley where Bangla is the official language is comprised mainly of Bengali Hindus and Bengali Muslims who constitute 95% of the population.
As reported in The Eastern Chronicle, Sadhan Purkayastha, state secretary of Amora Bangalee, has also welcomed the view of Nagen Saikia stating that, it was refreshing to see someone understand the perspective of the people of Barak Valley.