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Vehicles damaged in Dhemaji protest

Dhemaji, Dec. 26: Eight vehicles, including six belonging to the Arunachal Pradesh government, were damaged during a protest at Sissi Tongani under Sissiborgaon revenue circle in Dhemaji district today.

Members of the Area Development and Land Compensation Demand Committee had staged a blockade on the service road, disrupting work on the Bogibeel project. They were demanding compensation for the land acquired by the state government.

The Takam Mising Porin Kebang (Mising Students’ Union) supported the blockade.

The protest that started in the morning turned violent around 11am when no member from the district administration turned up to listen to the grievances, prompting an agitated section to throw stones at the vehicles and burn tyres and firewood on the road. No one was injured in the protest.

Communication between Dhemaji and Dibrugarh districts on National Highway 52 was hit because of the protest. Passengers commuting to Kareng Ghat from Bogibeel towards Dhemaji bore the brunt of the agitation.

“I was not aware of the agitation and found myself stranded for a while. Neither police nor the district administration provided any help to clear the road for commuters,” Kamala Kanta Baruah, who was coming from Diphu to Gogamukh in Dhemaji district through Dibrugarh, said.

Committee president Bilaram Pegu said they had called an indefinite blockade on the service road as nearly 179 families have not been compensated by the state government for acquisition of 285 bighas of cultivated land. The land was acquired for construction of roads and railways for the Bogibeel project in 2003.

Pegu said other landowners from Sissiborgoan and nearby areas have been compensated.

The blockade, however, was lifted late in the afternoon after discussions with the district administration, led by Dhemaji additional deputy commissioner A.K. Saikia and Sissiborgaon circle officer Ranjit Konwar, who assured the agitators that the administration will take up the matter with the authorities concerned.

Konwar said talks between the public, district administration and the railway authorities on the matter were held last year but as the land value was not fixed and the list of deprived families not prepared, the families could not be compensated.

The committee said it would resume the protest if the district authorities fail to give a final reply within the next four days.

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