GUWAHATI: In the wake of mass resentment in Assam over the non granting of a holiday on Bohag Bihu for Central government employees, the government has finally allotted one day — April 15 — as a holiday for Assam’s biggest folk festival.
The Narendra Modi-led government initially drew flak after Central government employees serving in the state realized that there would be no holiday on the occasion of Bihu.
While the state government has declared April 14, 15, and 16 as holidays — only one day (April 14) had been earmarked as a holiday for central holiday employees — and that too for the occasion of Ambedkar Jayanti.
In view of the massive wave of resentment — that too in the wake of hotly contested elections that will see the BJP retain its hold against a resurgent Congress, AIUDF, and — the Centre seems to have finally paid heed to the statewide demand for an exclusive Bihu holiday.
“This is for information of all concerned that as per the decision taken in the meeting of Central Govt. Employees Welfare Co — cordination Committee held on 12th April, 2021, “BOHAG BIHU” which falls on 15th April, 2021 is hereby declared as closed holiday for Central Govt. Offices in Assam,” stated the official communique issued by the office of the principal accountant general.
Regional forces, which had raised a hue-and-cry over the non-granting of holidays, see this as a major triumph of New Delhi buckling under pressure from regional sentiments.
“We will observe all our traditions in Assam. If people sitting in New Delhi think they can stop us from doing so, they are sadly mistaken,” said Shrinkhal Chaliha of the indigenous body Veer Lachit Sena. “We will continue to resist these efforts. This is a triumph of the indigenous peoples. The Nagpur lobby or the Hindi lobby cannot cancel our festivals.”
In spite of political affiliations, all seem to agree on one thing — that all Central government employees are entitled to holidays on Bihu which is marked by singing, dancing, and overall camaraderie and marks the beginning of the Assamese New Year.
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