| Activists burn tyres to block NH37 at Teok on Tuesday during the strike. Picture by UB Photos |
Jorhat, Aug. 20: The 12-hour Jorhat district strike called by Assam Tea Tribes Students’ Association (ATTSA) from 5 this morning paralysed normal life and forced Nagaland governor Ashwani Kumar to abandon his road journey from here to Tuli (in Nagaland) and instead travel by helicopter.
Business establishments, educational institutions, government offices remained closed and public and private transport remained off the roads during the strike, which passed off peacefully with no major untoward incident.
The strike was called by the tea students’ union to protest the death of 14-year-old student Sudip Nayak in police firing on Sunday night at Hemlai division of Boisahabi tea estate under Mariani police station.
The Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) also supported the strike. College student Rajib Nayak, 17, was also injured in the incident.
The police today registered a case in connection with the firing following an FIR lodged by the victim’s family members last evening and have begun investigations into the case.
The last rites of Nayak were performed at Boishabi tea garden this morning after his body was handed over to the family following the post-mortem. Mariani MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi was present at the cremation.
Police sources said six activists of ATTSA and AJYCP were arrested in the district while trying to enforce the strike. Tyres were set ablaze on National Highway 37 in Teok to block the road and two vehicles damaged in stone throwing by activists.
Nagaland governor Ashwani Kumar, who reached Jorhat circuit house around 9.30am from Dimapur, on his way to attend an important government function at Tuli in Mokokchung district, was advised by the district administration not to travel by road in view of the strike.
Jorhat additional deputy commissioner Dwijen Singh told this correspondent that the district administration, after discussing the matter with the police, told Kumar, a former CBI director, that he should avoid travelling by road.
“Any obstruction by activists and use of force to clear the route could lead to a law-and-order situation and we advised him to travel by air,” he said.
Jorhat superintendent of police Sanjukta Parasor said top officials in Kohima were contacted and a helicopter of the Nagaland government was flown to the airport here. It left with the governor for Tuli around 12.15pm.
The magisterial inquiry announced yesterday, to be conducted by additional deputy commissioner Dhiren Hazarika, started last night. Hazarika visited the victim’s house last night and spoke to his parents.
He told this correspondent today that he has recorded the statements of the college student who sustained bullet injuries, two policemen who were attacked by the mob comprising garden workers and two youths assaulted by the mob. All the injured are being treated at Jorhat Medical College and Hospital. Jorhat deputy commissioner Solanki Vishal Vasant had asked Hazarika yesterday to complete the probe within two days.
The district administration, in a press release issued this evening, urged the residents of Mariani revenue circle, especially in village and tea garden areas, not to get carried away by rumours of a pisal bhoot (slippery ghost) assaulting people during the night.
The appeal comes in the wake of Sunday’s incident where a garden worker riding a bicycle claimed he was attacked by a pisal bhoot.
It led to other workers coming out and assaulting two young passersby. Police resorted to firing after being attacked while trying to rescue the youths, resulting in Nayak’s death.
Assam additional director-general of police (law and order) A.P. Rout arrived here tonight to take stock of the situation in the aftermath of the police firing on Sunday night.
Police sources said Rout will visit Deberapara police outpost in Mariani tomorrow under which the incident site falls and hold a meeting with police officials to review the situation.