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ACT cries foul against arrest

Gangtok, Feb. 8: The Affected Citizens of Teesta (ACT) has condemned the arrest of its 43 members after they staged a rally against the 280mw hydel project at Panan in North Sikkim yesterday.

Tseten Lepcha, the chief coordinator of the ACT, said: “The arrests were arbitrary and eight women had been picked up from their homes in Lingdong, Passindang and other villages. We reiterate our demand for scrapping all mega hydel projects in the Lepcha reserve of Dzongu.”

The district magistrate of North Sikkim, T.N. Kazi, said the arrest was made after the Himagiri Hydroenergy Private Limited, the developer of the project, filed a complaint against the ACT members for vandalising the site. “The accused tried to set fire to the magazine where explosives were stored.”

B.K. Tamang, the senior superintendent of North district police, denied that the arrested people were tortured. “The organisation had not taken permission from us for the rally,” he said.

All the arrested have been remanded in police custody for three days.

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