Assam: Villagers protest against army road closure at Sonitpur


GUWAHATI, May 28, 2018: A protest was staged by hundreds of people from over 50 villages at Misamari of Sonitpur district in the Misamari butchery (Lakhupara) on Sunday against the alleged closure of a road by the army on Saturday.

The PWD road at Misamari was constructed during the British era and passes through the area connecting the Assam-Arunachal border with National Highway 15.

It has been a major means of communication for the people of the area.

However, after Chinese aggression in 1962, the army set up one of its biggest cantonments in the area, occupying the public land. Over 5,000 people protested against the army's "anti-people act" with placards and festoons and with slogans against the army's alleged harassment.

Earlier, there was no restriction against movement through this road for the public. However, the people have alleged that in the name of security checks, people, including school and college students, and even critical patients are kept waiting to pass through the area.

Rathindra Dey, one of the protesters, said the army closed the road at any time according to their whims and fancies though it is a public road.

Local residents have submitted several representations to the authorities concerned, including the Centre and the ministry of defence, but there has been no response from any end.

Sources said the army is reportedly going to put up six permanent gates in six different locations in the area.

As the area is next to the Sonai Rupai wildlife sanctuary, the elephants are losing their habitat because of the boundary walls.

The protesters also held a meeting attended by social workers of the area, namely Rathindra Dey, Porag Deka and Abbash Ali, along with different social organisations including AASU, Absu, AAMSU and the Bhojpuri Students' Union.

The groups vehemently condemned the act of alleged violation of human rights by the army.

"We always want to ensure proper security in the region with cooperation of all sections of society", said Tezpur-based defence spokesperson Lt Col Harsh Wardhan Pande.

Source: The Telegraph

Featured image: The Telegraph