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Lathis rain on project protesters
- People fear displacement

Itanagar, May 27: At least four persons, including an elderly woman, were injured when CRPF jawans yesterday resorted to a lathicharge to disperse a mob demanding scrapping of the Lower Siang hydroelectric project in Upper Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh.

The 2,700MW project has run into rough weather with nearly 30,000 people living upstream and downstream along the Siang river opposing the proposed project as they fear that the project will submerge vast areas.

A police source from Pasighat, the headquarters of East Siang district, today said the incident occurred when hundreds of protesters in Upper Siang district tried to force their way to the project site at Pongging village, 15km from Pasighat, around 4pm.

The protesters carrying placards and shouting slogans against Jaypee Associates — the executing agency of the hydel project — went berserk, prompting the security forces to open fire in the air and burst tear gas shells to disperse the mob.

The superintendent of police of East Siang, D.C. Srivastava, could not be contacted.

The secretary of the Lower Siang Project Dam Affected Youth Association, M. Taku, who led the protest march said: “The police and the CRPF jawans deployed at the project site fortified the area and initially tried to obstruct the protesters. The sub-inspector of police of Pasighat, O. Tagi, ordered three rounds of blank fire to prevent the mob from approaching the site.

“Later, when more protesters started assembling at the site alleging that the dam would submerge their lands, the CRPF resorted to lathicharge, injuring Okot Gakar, 52, Opi Padung, 57, Nanang Panyang, 17 and Gegong Taruk. Padung, the elderly woman, sustained head injuries and was referred to Pasighat hospital.”

On May 24, The East Siang district administration warned the people against any protest march.

The villagers urged Jaypee to stop its surveys immediately and threatened to intensify the protest if it failed to do so.

The administration clamped Section 144 CrPC in and around the project site on May 25.

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