Three more persons have been arrested on charges of damaging a dyke that led to the flooding of Silchar in Assam on June 19 with water from the overflowing Barak river that runs along the town.
The number of persons arrested in the case has gone up to four after the arrest of Mitu Hussain Laskar, Nazir Hussain Laskar and Ripon Khan on Saturday night, Cachar superintendent of police Ramandeep Kaur Dhillon told The Telegraph.
On Friday night, the police had arrested Kabul Khan.
The four arrested are among the six suspects identified so far.
Dhillon said they started probing the case after the irrigation department lodged a complaint on May 23 about miscreants damaging the Bethukandi dyke, which provides protection to Silchar, the second biggest town after Guwahati.
The miscreants had caused a 30-metre breach. Work on restoring the dyke is on. Incessant heavy rainfall and a Barak in spate disrupted normal life in Silchar, leaving 12 dead.
“We conducted our inquiry based on the irrigation department’s complaint about miscreants damaging the dyke and registered a case on June 21. Till now, we have arrested four people from Bethukandi for damaging government property. Investigation is still on,” she said.
Sources said the miscreants caused the breach in May to allow water from their area, which is vulnerable to waterlogging, to flow into the Barak. The residents of Bethukandi had made several representations to the authorities to find a permanent solution to waterlogging. In the past, the administration used to drain out the water.
“During the rains in May, they caused a breach that was not plugged. During heavy rain in June and with the Barak in spate because of water flowing from the hills of Mizoram and Manipur, water entered Silchar wreaking unprecedented havoc. They should not have damaged the dyke and the administration, too, should have taken timely action against the miscreants and plugged the breach in time,” the source said.
Silchar, located about a kilometre away from the damaged dyke, is still struggling to recover from the unprecedented deluge with 10 per cent of its area under water 14 days after the water of the Barak entered the town causing, extensive damage to the town and livelihood.
Almost 90 per cent of the town was under water, making it difficult to extend relief. Boats and rafts were used to reach out to the affected in most areas.
Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had on Friday said the dyke-breach case would be handled by the police’s criminal investigation department.