Security remains tight in India's North Eastern state of Assam following a two-day general strike over immigration.
GV PAN Jeep and armed police patrolling street in main shopping district of Gauhati TO People outside closed shops
SV Man walks past shuttered shops
GV Police patrolling cross-roads in shopping district
GV PAN FROM Deserted street TO University of Gauhati
SV "All Assam Student Union" sign
SV Woman reading newspaper with several items blanked out of front page
GV ZOOM INTO District Commissioner's court with police guard outside
SV PULL BACK TO GV Office of Sub-Deputy Collector
GV Empty street with policeman on guard outside shop. More police armed with sticks walk up road (3 shots)
GV Strike-bound rail yard with police guarding railway building (2 shots)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Security remains tight in India's North Eastern state of Assam following a two-day general strike over immigration. Anti-immigration militants have been in dispute with the central Indian Government for the past 15 months, demanding an immediate halt to the flood of Bengalese migrants settling in their state. More than 260 people have died in sporadic outbreaks of violence, and with no sign of a settlement to the dispute, Indian authorities are prepared for more trouble.
SYNOPSIS: In the Assam city of Gauhati, the normally busy shopping district was shut down by the general strike. Armed paramilitary police patrolled the streets with orders to stop any demonstrations. Storekeepers were promised protection if they were prepared to trade, but most stayed away, leaving their shop fronts bolted.
One of the reasons for the two-day stoppage was to protest at alleged police brutality during recent anti-immigration rallies. The protest leaders, based at Gauhati University, claim tens of thousands of illegal immigrants have moved into Assam over the past 30 years, taking valuable jobs and housing.
The "Ali Assam Student Union" is demanding the illegal immigrants be deported.
The local Assam Government is maintaining a firm stand against the protesters. As the tension mounted, the Government ordered a media blackout on any material related to the campaign. Local newspapers were published with a number of items missing.
The campaign enjoys wide support among the state's one-million public servants. Government offices shut down as civil servants rejected offers of extra payment for working through the strike.
The Indian Government has offered to reopen negotiations on the dispute, but it is unlikely to agree to the protesters' demands that all illegal immigrants who have settled in Assam since 1951 be expelled. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi has warned agitators they will be dealt with sternly. There is some urgency in settling the row. For the past 12 months, the protesters have cut off the flow of oil from Assam's 360 oil wells, a blockade which has dealt a massive blow to the Indian economy.