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Rallyists clear Assam roads

Tezpur, Feb. 6: Organisations protesting against the Behali killings today lifted the blockade of roads to Arunachal Pradesh at Borgang and Chariduar in Assamís Sonitpur district after submitting a four-point charter of demands to the administration and serving a 20-day deadline for their fulfilment.

Several organisations along with the residents had imposed the blockade against the alleged killing of 11 persons by armed men from Arunachal Pradesh at Chauldhua in Behali reserve forest, about 150km from Tezpur and 300km from Guwahati, last week. Twelve people were injured in the attack.

Sources in the chief ministerís office said the Behali situation was stabilising and efforts were on to arrest the culprits.

At Chariduar, about 30km from here, the protesters, including the All Assam Studentsí Union (AASU), All Gorkha Students Union, Assam Koch Rajbongshi Studentsí Union (Akrasu), and the All Bodo Studentsí Union, decided to conditionally lift the blockade after six days. The route is the only link road from Assam to Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh. The organisations submitted memoranda separately to Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi through Sonitpur deputy commissioner Lalit Gogoi.

The memoranda had four common demands: Compensation to the victimsí families, amicable settlement of the long-pending Assam-Arunachal Pradesh boundary dispute at the earliest, exemplary punishment to the culprits involved in the killings and adequate security to the people living in the border areas. The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti and the All Guwahati Studentsí Union also demanded amicable solution to the inter-state boundary problem.

The organisations gave a 20-day deadline for fulfilling their demands.

The eight-day blockade at Borgang was lifted this afternoon after protesters held a detailed discussion with officials of the Sonitpur administration at Biswanath Chariali, after which the situation limped back to normal. Earlier, a peaceful procession was taken out.

The blockades had hampered supplies of essential commodities to East Kameng, West Kameng and Tawang districts of Arunachal Pradesh.

Lalit Gogoi told this correspondent that six forest protection camps would be set up immediately with the Rs 1.14 crore released by the state government recently. The camps will be set up at Naharjan, Bogijuli, Chauldhua, Rajghar, Ramghat and Dikalmukh in Sonitpur along the inter-state boundary. Six border outposts will also be set up in the area.

He assured the protesters that the district administration would pay compensation of Rs 3 lakh to the next of kin of those who had died at Behali and Rs 50,000 to the injured.


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