January 26, 2018
As the entire nation sang the chorus of the valour and sacrifice of the martyrs who died for their motherland, a pall of gloom fell upon the people of Dima Hasao as the region plunged into a gloom of uncertainty over the death and injury of innocent men on January 25th following the firing incident at Maibong which lead to the death of 2 persons leaving many injured, the civil bodies of Dima Hasao have stood in unity to protest against the firing by the District Administration and have boycotted the Republic Day Celebrations in the region and called for a 48-hr-closure from 5 am of January 26 to 5 am of January 28, 2018.
In a written statement, they made a three point demand:
– A Written statement from the government on Nagalim issue in the context of Dima Hasao
–Immediate suspension of Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of police, Haflong, Dima Hasao, Assam
–Compensation to each of the injured persons.
It may be mentioned that at least nine people were injured leaving 2 people dead after police opened fire to disperse the protesters at Maibong railway station in Assam’s Dima Hasao district on Thursday, leaving close to 3,000 passengers of a train stranded at the station. The incident took place at Maibong. The people who died have been identified as Mithun Dibragede and Prabanta Hakmosa. People from all sections of Dima Hasao have condemned this act of firing by police leading to the death of 2 people.
Speaking to TNT- The Northeast Today, the DGP, Assam Police, Mukesh Sahay informed that the situation is currently under control and an inquiry has been initiated to establish the reason of the firing. The Assam DGP also admitted that the victims of police firing died of bullet injuries. He also confirmed that the government has agreed to give Rs 5 lakh as ex-gratia to the family of the deceased and free treatment to the injured persons.
The police firing received criticisms from several quarters even as questions have been raised on the ‘irresponsible’ behaviour of the police in using real bullets instead of rubber bullets or tear gas. People went all out on social media to condemn the incident and to demand justice for the deceased.
Speaking to TNT- The Northeast Today, Advisor of Dimasa Students Union, Amal Daolagajao said, “The innocent public of Maibang area were peacefully protesting against reported contemplation (as revealed in the draft prepared by Jagdamba Mall, RSS pracharak) of granting separate development authority only for Nagas in Dima Hasao district, Assam as part of the Framework agreement. The protest was carried out in a constitutional manner but despite that, the DC ordered his men to fire at the protesters with actual bullets instead of using tear gas or rubber bullets.” He also said that any amount of compensation would not be able to make up for the loss of lives of innocent people.
It may be recalled that Jagdamba Mall, a known face of the RSS in the Northeast, who has also been instrumental in BJP’s electoral inroads into the region, categorically told The Wire, an online news portal that the “proposed draft agreement” (Naga Framework Agreement) was his “personal effort” that emanated from his “study of the Naga issue for over 45 years”.
And what sparked even greater unrest in Assam’s Dima Hasao was that Mall’s “draft agreement” has suggested “separate development authorities (to be) constituted for a period of ten years to execute the development programmes in seven Naga inhabited districts of Manipur”,“two Naga inhabited districts of Arunachal Pradesh, Changlang and Tirap” and “one in Assam, the Dima Hasao (North Cachar Hills district)” as a possible antidote to it.
In view of this, speaking to TNT, President of Dima Hasao District Congress Committee Nirmal Langthasa clarified that, “There is already a lot of confusion regarding the Naga Framework agreement and to top it all, the news published in The Wire has caused greater unrest among people in Dima Hasao. People are fed up of dilly-dallying tactics of the government and the politicization of the issue has to be stopped. The people want to know the contents of the framework – whether our land is included or not? The loss of two innocent lives is a very sad incident for all of us here.”
He further added, “We are not against the Naga issue and we understand their struggle very well. We want the issue to be resolved but not at the cost of any alteration of territorial boundaries”.