Santi Pathak, a local vendor selling pork on the streetside of Survey locality in Guwahati city of Assam passes me a smile, welcoming me to check out his wares (in this case, large chunks of pork, bamboo shoot packed in plastic pouches, and a variant of smoked pork).
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Pathak, who has been selling pork in the same locality for , operates his stall under the name of 'Gogoi Pork', and shifts quite a large amount of pork to the locals.
Upon being asked about the business estimates on New Year's eve, Pathak expresses confidence of moving at least two quintals (or 200 kilos) of meat. "Why not? The people are in good spirits. For 2-3 days, things are looking up", he expresses, with a glint of hope in his eyes.
However, upon recollection of the Assam movement against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act that recently rocked Assam, Pathak's face takes on a dark look. "Business was hit hard because of the protests. Earlier, we used to sell thirty kilos quite comfortably, but during the CAA protests, we would be lucky if we could sell twenty. It was getting difficult to make ends meet", he confesses.
[caption id="attachment_49132" align="alignnone" width="627"] Pathak chops his meat[/caption]
A father of two college-going sons, Pathak recollects that the protests against the 'CAA' and the ensuing 'bandhs' and curfews made life difficult for his family.
Having relocated to Guwahati from Morigaon in 1981, Pathak is a second-generation pork seller, but he does not recall anything remotely as disturbing as the 'CAA' movement during his meat-selling career. "This is the first time that something like this has occurred. Frankly, we were all baffled", he admits.
Pathak is one among countless vendors whose trade was affected due to the nationwide protests against the amendment of the Citizenship Act, many of which turned violent.
Although the region has returned to a state of normalcy in the aftermath of the protests against the Bill-turned-Act, the streets of Guwahati city still bear a deserted look on the occasion of New Year's eve, one of the most joyous occasions of the year.
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