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Administration, police taken off-guard by protesters

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, June 22 � A string of unexpected acts, prompted by the ill-prepared administration and police, precipitated the fallout from the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti's dharna at Dispur today.

Those who witnessed the mayhem near the State capital agree that the police and the administration buckled under mob frenzy in a manner never witnessed before.

Even though information about the proposed protest was available to the Kamrup Metro District and police, today both were caught off guard by the number of protestors and their aggressive tactics which resulted in violence and death along with destruction of both public and private properties.

A source in the police, who spoke on condition of anonymity, revealed the police had failed to anticipate the numerical strength of protestors, and their resolve to take on the police.

"It is because of this the protestors were allowed to assemble in Dispur. No one thought that the protestors would be able to outwit and outmaneuver armed police personnel�at the end many uniformed personnel were attacked and beaten up," he said.

He revealed that there was no contingency plan to take into account likely casualities among the protestors and the police personnel stationed to restrain them. It was not easy even to transport the police personnel after they were beaten up.

Some of the police personnel were positioned long before the protest turned ugly, and by the time the violence started they were very close to exhaustion. It has also emerged that they were not properly briefed about the potential threats from the protestors, and neither were they provided with any specific instructions to confront them.

The district administration too came up with a response, which could only be described as knee jerk action. The delayed arrival of senior district administration officials on the spot did not help matters. By the time they had arrived to take stock of the situation the mob frenzy was at its peak.

With police beating a retreat, the mob could attack innocent motorists and damage public property at will. By the time the fire brigade personnel could start operations three new city buses under the JNNURM were already in flames.

A number of citizens expressed concern over today's violence that left at least two dead and dozens injured.

Disapproving today's mob violence, Arman Aly, an activist working in the disability sector, said protests should not be carried out in a manner that poses a danger to the common person. "What happened on the streets has to be condemned. Today we had to bring back a disabled student to our school because the child could not be dropped at Down Town area because of the chaos�" he remarked.

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