Dhubri, Feb. 25: A blockade by members of the South Salmara-Mancachar district unit of All Assam Minorities Students’ Union (Aamsu) stalled traffic on the Hatsinghimari-Mancachar road for nearly three hours today.
The protesters were demanding a judicial probe into the death of three persons in firing by security forces in front of the counting centre at Hatsinghimari on February 15 along with compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs 2 lakh each to those injured.
They were also demanding the immediate upgrade of the Hatsinghimari civil hospital, as it was not equipped to even provide basic healthcare.
The Dhubri district unit president, Tamizur Rahman Sarkar, said the government had announced a compensation of Rs 3 lakh for the next of kin of the deceased but nothing for those injured.
“We demand compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the families of the deceased, as announced by chief minister Tarun Gogoi two weeks ago in the Rabha Hasong council area, a government job to a family member and compensation of Rs 2 lakh each to the four injured in the firing,” Sarkar said. He also demanded a judicial inquiry into the firing.
Demanding immediate upgrade of Hatsinghimari civil hospital, he said there was absolutely nothing in the hospital; no doctor, no paramedical staff, no medicine; it was a farce on the part of the health department to open a hospital that could hardly provide any medical care to the patients.
The union also submitted a memorandum to chief minister Tarun Gogoi through the sub-divisional officer (civil), outlining their demands.
The Dhubri district administration, in the meantime, is gearing up to start counting of panchayat poll votes from tomorrow. The counting process was stalled following the February 15 trouble.
On February 15, three persons had died and four were injured when security forces opened fire to disperse a mob comprising supporters of political parties that had assembled in front of the vote counting centre at Hatsinghimari.
Counting was stopped and curfew clamped in Hatsinghimari and shoot-at-sight orders were issued by the civil administration. The curfew was, however, lifted on February 18 in view of the HSLC and HS exams.
Sub-divisional officer (civil) Prabin Kumar Saikia and extra assistant commissioner Anup Kumar Brahma of South Salmara-Mancachar sub-division of Dhubri district were suspended under the Assam Service Disciplinary Act by state government on February 19 for allegedly fleeing from Hatsinghimari after the trouble began on February 15.
The police, however, are not taking any chances this time and have arranged foolproof security arrangement around the counting centre at Hasinghimari.
An official source said votes for four zilla parishad constituencies and 28 gaon panchayats would be counted tomorrow.
A police source in Hatsinghimari said several barricades had been erected and an area of 1km radius around the centre had been turned into a restricted area.
A source said the police had to be extra vigilant as there were three HSLC and HS examination centres near the counting centre.
Dhubri additional superintendent of police Prasanta Dutta said two additional companies of security forces were deployed in Hatsinghimari and Mancachar to help the police personnel. “Apart from this, we are taking all measures to ensure that the counting passes off peacefully,” he said.