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Blockade against firing

Tezpur, July 6: Several organisations, including Arunachal Agraxon Protirodh Samiti and CPI (M-L), today blocked National Highway 15 at Behali for three hours to protest the firing at Naharjan under Behali reserve forest area in Sonitpur district yesterday.

Police said armed men from Arunachal Pradesh had entered the premises of village headman Lala Orang’s residence yesterday morning and fired indiscriminately.

Lala, Himant Orang, son of Lala and a woman, Baha Chare, who stay near their house, were injured in the firing.

Behali is about 120km from Tezpur under Biswanath Chariali subdivision.

Around 500 protesters today staged the road blockade from 10am, shouting slogans against chief minister Tarun Gogoi, forest minister Rakibul Hussain and the police. The protesters also demanded arrest of the culprits of yesterday’s incident as well as the perpetrators of the January 29 incident in which 15 civilians were killed.

The protest also affected traffic in the area with several vehicles stranded at the site.

The blockade was lifted around 1pm after the police and additional district magistrate reached the spot.

The organisations submitted a memorandum to Sonitpur deputy commissioner through the circle officer demanding protection for the residents in the border areas and compensation to the victims’ kin and those injured in yesterday’s incident.

Ananta Hazarika, secretary of Arunachal Agraxon Protirodh Samiti, said the state government needed to provide Rs 5 lakh as compensation to the victims and provide free medical aid.