In Assam, Bhogali Bihu is celebrated the day after Makar Sankranti. On the day of Bihu, the Meji (A large heap of wood) is burnt as a symbol of chasing away evil. This festive season, copies of the three farm laws were burnt in the fire of Mejis across the state in solidarity with the ongoing farmers’ movement against the "anti-farmer" legislation.
In support of the call given by All india Kisan Sangharsh Co-Ordination Committee (AIKSCC), the umbrella body of farmer groups that is leading the protests, various organisations staged the burning of the laws both in Brahmaputra and Barak Valleys in the state.
In upper Assam of the Brahmaputra Valley, protests were held in several places in Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Sonitpur, Biswanath, Nagaon, Lakhimpur and Dhemaji districts.
In Tingkhang area of Dibrugarh district, several organisations gathered at the place where community mejis were burnt and people copies of the three laws in the fire demanding their immediate repeal and raising slogans against the Narendra Modi-led central government while Bihu songs were also played. KMSS (Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti), Sadou Asom Khetiyok Sangstha, Jeepal Krishak Sangha, AIKM (All India Kisan Mahasabha) were the organisations that led the protests in Tingkhang.
Speaking to NewsClick, the Assam state convener of AIKSCC, Jayanta Gogoi said, “ The AIKSCC Assam Committee has given the call of burning the bills in Mejis and all the organisations that are parts of the AIKSCC Assam, have implemented it in almost all the districts of the state. We also have programmes lined up for the month--such as Rajbhavan March on January 23, Mahila Krishak Divas on January 18, processions in various places on January 26 (Republic Day) in support of the tractor rally in Delhi.”
Gogoi further said that the movement is getting a momentum in Assam and gathering support of people from all walks of lives as with time. Gogoi is a member of the Communist Party of India (CPI) and he is also the Assistant Secretary of AIKS (All India Kisan Sabha), Assam.
At Biswanath Chariali, the Students Federation of India (SFI) participated in the protests. Nirangkush Nath, the SFI state secretary of Assam, told NewsClick, “The ongoing farmers' movement is unprecedented and is a serious blow to the regressive policies of the Modi government. This is the time when students, farmers and workers have to become united to face the onslaught of the government. We are campaigning amongst people and we hope to gather significant support in days to come.”
Similarly, in lower Assam, several places witnessed the burning of the farm laws. Protests were held at various places in the districts of Dhubri, Nalbari, Barpeta, Goalpara, Kamrup along with Guwahati city, the state capital.
The Barak valley also witnessed protests in all three districts, Hailakandi, Cachar and Karimganj. In some areas, the burning of the central farm legislation was also conducted on the day of the Makar Sankranti on January 14.
Tiken Das, member of CPI (M) and secretary of the ASKS (Assam State Krishak Sabha) that is affiliated to AIKS, said, “Here in Assam, the ongoing farmers movement was attempted to be portrayed as a movement of Punjab and Haryana only by few media houses and political leaders of the ruling party. But, steadily, this has been challenged by people of the state, which could be seen in increasing support of the movement." Das further added, "The State saw a massive closure on the call of the ‘Bharat Bandh’ on December 8, 2020. As time passes, supports from all corners are increasing. We hope for good response for the ‘Rajbhavan March’ on January 23 and protests on January 26 in solidarity with the ‘Tratctor Parade’ in Delhi."