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Nagaland feels road blockade impact

- Protest by student groups in Karbi Anglong against encroachment

Silonijaan (Karbi Anglong), Feb. 27: The impact of the ongoing indefinite road blockade against Nagaland in protest against the alleged encroachment on forestland in Karbi Anglong district was felt today as hundreds of trucks carrying supplies to the neighbouring state got stranded on National Highways 39 and 36 .

Though the blockade began on February 25, its impact was minimal, as there was hardly any traffic because of the strikes called by various organisations.

Eight student organisations blocked National Highway 39 at Silonijaan and Sariahjaan and National Highway 36 at Dillai in the district.

“A vast area of Daldalli reserve forest in Karbi Anglong have been forcefully encroached upon by some miscreants from the Nagaland side. They have demolished No.17 forest pillar near the Shankartilla border outpost under Diphu sub-division and in spite of obstruction from Assam police and joint visit paid by the officials of both the governments, encroachment continues unabated,” the president of Karbi Students Association, Bidyasing Terang, said.

Terang said they have submitted a memorandum to chief minister Tarun Gogoi through Karbi Anglong deputy commissioner Prasanta Kumar Buragohain on February 17 demanding immediate steps to stop further encroachment, take up development activities along the border areas, construct border pillars and strengthen the border outposts.

“As the state government is not at all serious about the ongoing encroachment on the border, we have been left with no option but to call impose the road blockade,” Terang said.

The president of Naga Hoho, the apex body of civil organisations of Nagaland, Chuba Ozukon, has appealed to the protesters to call off the blockade, as this would not yield any positive outcome.

Ties between the two states took a hit following the recovery of nine bodies in a drain in Dimapur on January 4.

Buragohain said a high-level meeting was held today at Bokajan with Dimapur deputy commissioner Hushili Sema and superintendent of police V.Z. Angami where they have agreed to maintain status quo on the border and work in co-operation to ease the tension.

“We have increased police presence at the border outposts and are keeping a tight vigil to avoid any untoward incident. Today’s discussion ended on a positive note and we hope the protesters call off their blockade,” Buragohain said.

Sema said Section 144 was promulgated along the border and every possible measure would be taken to ensure peace.