By- Staff Reporter | Date- December 27, 2011
Democracy and voice of the public has often been crushed in India’s north eastern states when it comes to protesting in masses either against a capitalistic venture or something which is against people’s goodness. In another such day, anti-dam protests in north Assam took a violent shape with clashes taking place at various places between the Police forces and anti-dam protestors.
During the second day of the 48-hour Bandh in Lakhimpur district jointly called by Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, Takam Mising Porin Kebang, Asom Jatiyotabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP), All Assam Tai-Ahom Students’ Union (AATASU), All Assam Deori Students’ Union (AADSU) protesting police action on the peaceful protestors at the night earlier the situation turned violent when police used teargas and fired in the air against the agitating protesters in Chaul Dhowa locality. The incident occurred at about noon when a vehicle carrying goods for the NHPC’s Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Power Project site at Gerukamukh tried to move past the road blockade set up by the KMSS and other associate organisations.
As per reports, the protesting organisations had allowed some public and private vehicles stranded on NH-52 at to move to lessen public inconvenience. When the vehicles were passing, a truck belonging to the NHPC also tried to move forward with police escort. As soon as this was understood, the crowd started protesting and started pelt stones at the vehicle demanding it to be stopped. The security forces in turn opened fired in the air and took to a lathicharge against the protesting crowd. This created a tense situation and thousands of people joined in huge numbers. Rounds of rubber bullets were fired injuring several people and hundreds were arrested by the police. Even the aged, women and minors were not spared and had to take the burn of the police sticks. The injured were taken to the hospital.
Leader of KMSS leading the protests, Akhil Gogoi stated to media that Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi should stop giving a deaf eye to the call of the people. He also threatened for an indefinite strike if the demands of stopping the Mega dam project were not met by the Government.
In order to resolve the confrontation, Lakhimpur district deputy commissioner Anwaruddin Choudhury held a meeting with the protesting leaders including Akhil Gogoi. For withdrawing the 11 day blockade and protest, three conditions were put on the table, – the government should hold talks with the protesters, the arrested protesters be released and those injured in the lathicharge given medical care and the protesters be allowed to re-establish their camps damaged the other day.
It is to be mentioned that the Lakhimpur Chief Judicial Magistrates (CJM) court yesterday sent 17 anti-mega dam protestors, including Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) president Raju Bora, to jail custody. Their release is being demanded by the KMSS and a 12 hour Assam Bandh call is on the cards.
On the other hand, the All Assam Students Union (AASU) and 26 other ethnic organizations again vowed to continue the protest movement against construction of mega dams. These organizations would be taking out a symbolic torch light rally across the State today evening demanding scrapping of the mega dam project.