Assam MLA slits palm in Assembly over privatisation

Assam MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi cut his left palm with a blade in the Assembly corridor on Tuesday morning. (DH photo)

A young Congress MLA slit his left palm and wrote a banner with blood in the entrance of  Assam Assembly's main hall on Tuesday morning to stage a protest against BJP-led government's move to hand over two paper mills, a tea garden and a fertiliser company to private companies.

The MLA, Rupjyoti Kurmi, who represents Mariani constituency took to the extreme way of protest at around 11.30 am when the winter session of the Assembly was underway.

No security personnel stopped him even as blood splattered his left hand and he spoke before television cameras in the entrance of the main hall of the state Assembly for more than 20 minutes. Many journalists, who were shocked over his act termed it as a security breach. "Why no security personnel stopped him as he cut his palm with a blade? It is a serious security lapse," one of them said.

Kurmi was protesting against the state government's move to hand over two papers mills in Cachar in South Assam and another at Jagiroad in Central Assam to private companies. He also alleged that the BJP-led government was planning to hand over Namrup fertiliser factory and a tea garden to private companies. Assam has witnessed strong protests against the privatisation move, with most demanding the government to revive the PSUs.

"I took this step as the government has neglected the peaceful protest. Today's protest should be considered as a message that Assam would witness bloody protests in the days to come if the government does not listen to the peaceful protests and relent," he said.

Debabrata Saikia, leader of Congress legislature party said the party did not support Kurmi's way of protest. Kurmi, however, tendered his apology to Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami in the afternoon. 

The two mills, Cachar Paper Mill and Nagaon Paper Mill, have been lying non-functional since October 2015 and March 2017 respectively. Their workers have not received salaries for more than two-and-a-half years. The National Company Law Tribunal ordered their liquidation on May 2 this year.

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