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The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mariani meet on truck jam

Trucks stranded at Mariani during the strike. File picture

Jorhat, March 14: Truckers from Nagaland and Assam will meet at Mariani here tomorrow to solve the impasse that arose when Assam truckers called an indefinite strike in protest against the beating up of two of their colleagues.

Members of chambers of commerce from three districts of Nagaland — Mokokchung, Zunheboto and Tuensang — and Hill Area Truck Owners’ Association here will attend the meeting.

On March 6, a few policemen at a checkgate in Mokokchung allegedly beat up a truck driver, Kuldeep Singh, and an employee, Rubul Ali, when they refused to part with the fish they were ferrying.

The Assam truckers then launched the indefinite strike from Monday.

If the strike continues, it will hit the supply of essential commodities to the three districts of Nagaland.

The president of the Mariani Truck Drivers’ Association, Arup Bora, said trucks would not ply to Nagaland unless the authorities assured them of security for the drivers plying on the road.

“We have invited the truckers from Nagaland for a discussion so that they persuade the authorities in their state to provide security to the drivers from Assam,” Bora said.

He said that goons and policemen in Nagaland constantly harassed truck drivers from Assam.

“They not only demand money but also loot goods from the trucks and beat up drivers and employees,” he alleged.

On the recent incident, Bora said, “The duo were beaten up by policemen at the checkgate for refusing to give fish which they were ferrying in the truck.”

Though the matter was taken up with the police by the truck drivers’ association, no action was taken, he added.

“This is only one particular incident but truckers have to face similar situations frequently on this particular route,” he alleged.

A Mokokchung district administration official said they had taken action against the policemen who were involved in the incident.

“We have informed the truck drivers’ association but it is unfortunate that they went ahead with the strike,” the official said.

He added that instructions have been issued to all the checkgates on the particular route that trucks coming from Assam should not be stopped or their drivers harassed. “We have also taken steps to increase police patrolling on the route so that truckers are not harassed by goons,” he said.