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Anti-dam protest turns violent

By Correspondent
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NORTH LAKHIMPUR, Dec 27 � The second day of the 48-hour bandh called by Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti and its associate organisations in Lakhimpur district following police action on them in the early hours of yesterday turned violent when police used teargas and fired in the air against the agitating protesters in Chawul Dhowa area. The incident occurred around 12 pm today when a vehicle carrying goods for the NHPC�s dam at Gerukamukh tried to sneak past the road blockade set up by the KMSS and others at Chawul Dhowa Ghat.

The KMSS and other protesting organisations allowed some public and private vehicles stranded on NH-52 at Chawul Dhowa Ghat following discussions with the representatives of the district administration. While the vehicles began to move, a truck belonging to the NHPC also tried to move on with police escort. This attracted the wrath of the protesting crowd which immediately began to pelt stones at the security personnel to stop that vehicle. The security forces in turn also fired in the air and resorted to a lathicharge and used teargas to disperse the crowd. This pitched battle between the security forces and protesting public created a tense situation as thousands of people from the nearby areas converged in large numbers. Five persons, including an AJYCP leader, were injured in the police action while one person received wounds from rubber bullets fired by the police.

KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi also received minor injuries in the police action. The injured persons were taken to the Gogamukh hospital.

Reacting to the incident KMSS general secretary Akhil Gogoi asked Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi to listen to the call of the time and said that the leadership of KMSS and its associate organisations would find it extremely difficult to control their followers if such police brutalities continued. He also called for a protest programme for an indefinite period if their demands for halting the work on the dam at Gerukamukh were not met by the Government.

However, the tense situation eased following the arrival of Lakhimpur Deputy Commissioner Dr Anwar Uddin Chawdhury at the spot later in the afternoon. Immediately after arriving, DC Dr Chawdhury held talks with KMSS, TMPK and other leaders and requested them to not take the law in their hands in the name of a democratic protest. After the talk, the KMSS and other organisations promised him to maintain order and peace and the situation quickly turned to normalcy.

Meanwhile, the second day of the 48-hour bandh called by KMSS, AJYCP, TMPK, MASS etc., paralysed Lakhimpur district completely on its second day today with entire markets, shops and business establishments remained shut everywhere in the district. Banks and financial institutions, educational institutes and private sector offices remained closed during the period. Attendance in governmental offices and the judicial courts was also less during the bandh. All transport services were completely suspended in the district and vehicular traffic was off the road during the bandh.

Staff Reporter adds: Though the overall situation is apparently peaceful in Lakhimpur and Dhemaji districts today after yesterday�s police action on the anti-mega dam protestors, tension still prevails with thousands of protestors still continuing with their road blockade programme at around eleven locations.

Meanwhile, the Lakhimpur Chief Judicial Magistrate�s (CJM�s) court today sent 17 anti-mega dam protestors, including Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) president Raju Bora, to jail custody on charges of obstructing government functioning under Section 353 of the IPC, said KMSS general secretary Akhil Gogoi.

Demanding the release of the arrested protesters, KMSS threatened to call a 12-hour Assam bandh on December 29.

In the meantime, the NHPC authorities have sent a proposal for discussion through the Lakhimpur district administration. If the result of the discussion comes out �positive,� the protesting organisations � KMSS, Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP), All Assam Tai-Ahom Students� Union (AATASU) and the All Assam Deuri Students� Union (AADSU) � would withdraw their ongoing bandh at 6 am tomorrow. Or else, the bandh period will be extended, Gogoi said.

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Anti-dam protest turns violent

NORTH LAKHIMPUR, Dec 27 � The second day of the 48-hour bandh called by Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti and its associate organisations in Lakhimpur district following police action on them in the early hours of yesterday turned violent when police used teargas and fired in the air against the agitating protesters in Chawul Dhowa area. The incident occurred around 12 pm today when a vehicle carrying goods for the NHPC�s dam at Gerukamukh tried to sneak past the road blockade set up by the KMSS and others at Chawul Dhowa Ghat.

The KMSS and other protesting organisations allowed some public and private vehicles stranded on NH-52 at Chawul Dhowa Ghat following discussions with the representatives of the district administration. While the vehicles began to move, a truck belonging to the NHPC also tried to move on with police escort. This attracted the wrath of the protesting crowd which immediately began to pelt stones at the security personnel to stop that vehicle. The security forces in turn also fired in the air and resorted to a lathicharge and used teargas to disperse the crowd. This pitched battle between the security forces and protesting public created a tense situation as thousands of people from the nearby areas converged in large numbers. Five persons, including an AJYCP leader, were injured in the police action while one person received wounds from rubber bullets fired by the police.

KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi also received minor injuries in the police action. The injured persons were taken to the Gogamukh hospital.

Reacting to the incident KMSS general secretary Akhil Gogoi asked Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi to listen to the call of the time and said that the leadership of KMSS and its associate organisations would find it extremely difficult to control their followers if such police brutalities continued. He also called for a protest programme for an indefinite period if their demands for halting the work on the dam at Gerukamukh were not met by the Government.

However, the tense situation eased following the arrival of Lakhimpur Deputy Commissioner Dr Anwar Uddin Chawdhury at the spot later in the afternoon. Immediately after arriving, DC Dr Chawdhury held talks with KMSS, TMPK and other leaders and requested them to not take the law in their hands in the name of a democratic protest. After the talk, the KMSS and other organisations promised him to maintain order and peace and the situation quickly turned to normalcy.

Meanwhile, the second day of the 48-hour bandh called by KMSS, AJYCP, TMPK, MASS etc., paralysed Lakhimpur district completely on its second day today with entire markets, shops and business establishments remained shut everywhere in the district. Banks and financial institutions, educational institutes and private sector offices remained closed during the period. Attendance in governmental offices and the judicial courts was also less during the bandh. All transport services were completely suspended in the district and vehicular traffic was off the road during the bandh.

Staff Reporter adds: Though the overall situation is apparently peaceful in Lakhimpur and Dhemaji districts today after yesterday�s police action on the anti-mega dam protestors, tension still prevails with thousands of protestors still continuing with their road blockade programme at around eleven locations.

Meanwhile, the Lakhimpur Chief Judicial Magistrate�s (CJM�s) court today sent 17 anti-mega dam protestors, including Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) president Raju Bora, to jail custody on charges of obstructing government functioning under Section 353 of the IPC, said KMSS general secretary Akhil Gogoi.

Demanding the release of the arrested protesters, KMSS threatened to call a 12-hour Assam bandh on December 29.

In the meantime, the NHPC authorities have sent a proposal for discussion through the Lakhimpur district administration. If the result of the discussion comes out �positive,� the protesting organisations � KMSS, Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP), All Assam Tai-Ahom Students� Union (AATASU) and the All Assam Deuri Students� Union (AADSU) � would withdraw their ongoing bandh at 6 am tomorrow. Or else, the bandh period will be extended, Gogoi said.

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