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200 hit streets for justice

- Protest for civic amenities on day GMDA announces project to counter floods

April 23: Who is responsible for Sagarika Bora’s death, asked a graffiti on the wall of Manik Chandra Baruah Middle Elementary School at Ujan Bazar, in front of which the Class VII student had fallen into a drain on April 10 and died of the injuries she had sustained.

The same question was in the minds of about 200 school students and residents of Uzan Bazar who hit the streets this morning, demanding the administration to immediately identify those responsible for Sagarika’s death and take strict action.

The protesters under the banner of Nagarik Xajagata Mancha, a citizens’ group, shouted slogans against the civic authorities and blamed them for the death of the girl.

The protest was staged in front of the drain in which Sagarika had fallen and suffered liver injuries while on her way to buy a pair of socks with her mother and younger sister around 7pm on April 10. Sagarika died of her injuries on Wednesday.

The portion of the drain which was left uncovered was maintained by the public works department.

The protesters said even as the district administration had started the work to repair the portion of the drain, many drains were still lying open in Uzan Bazar and parts of the city and many streets were devoid of streetlights.

“Sagarika had fallen into the drain as there were no lights in the streets and she did not see the gaping hole. Similarly, many streets in Uzan Bazar and the city do not have lights. Pedestrians walking on the dark lanes may fall into the open drains and injure themselves. A day after Sagarika’s death, a senior citizen injured himself while walking over the drain in front of Barowari. So, we demand that all streets should be provided with lights to check similar tragedies,” Mancha secretary Kiron Baruah said.

The protesters said there were no lights in the nearby Bhuban Road, portion of MC Raod and few other areas and tragedy was waiting to happen to pedestrians anytime.

Diptosh Das, a student of the Manik Chandra school who, too, joined the protest, said students were equally scared to walk on the streets as many were lying uncovered and lacking lights.

Like Uzan Bazar, many city residential areas were yet to be provided with streetlights despite repeated promises by Dispur and the civic agencies.

“A few lights were put up in front of the Hanuman temple at Noonmati but they did not last long. We have heard the GMC and other agencies making tall promises but we have also seen that lights, even if installed, are never maintained,” a resident of Noonmati said.


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