Blockade imposed after attack on Assam trucker lifted

SILAPATHAR (Assam), Jul 14: Amid the stoppage of the movement of all Pasighat, Aalo and Yingkiong bound goods trucks by a Silapathar-based truck union in Dhemaji district of Assam on Friday, the Galo Welfare Society’s Lower Siang district unit president Rekar Doye met with the truck union leaders here and requested them to allow the movement of trucks without disturbing the peace between Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.
The union had launched the economic blockade to register its protest against the attack on one of its members – a pick-up truck driver – at Silli village in Upper Siang district in the wee hours of 4 July.
As per an FIR filed by one Ravi Das on 10 July at the Yingkiong police station, the pick-up truck, owned by one Sameer Das and driven by a person identified only as Bhaskar, had left with loaded goods from Silapathar towards Yingkiong on 3 July. However, with the road blocked due to a landslide in the vicinity of Silli village in Upper Siang district, the driver had to stop over for the night at the block-point.
As per the FIR, in the intervening hours between 3 and 4 July, at about 1.30 am, the driver was roused from his sleep when some five drunk and unidentified miscreants armed with daos started pelting stones at his truck.
The driver began to flee the area on his truck, but the miscreants reportedly followed him on motorbikes and continued pelting stones. Eventually, a stone hit the driver on the forehead and knocked him unconscious, which resulted in the driverless truck losing track and flipping over, injuring the driver further and also damaging the truck and all the goods.
Friday’s protestors said the incident was not the first such, and that they resorted to blockading all commercial vehicles plying towards said destinations in Arunachal Pradesh after several of the union’s members had faced similar life-threatening incidents in the past.
In the meeting with the truck union leaders here, Doye reasoned that the criminal activities of a few misguided individuals should not be turned into a cause for creating an Assam versus Arunachal issue, and urged them to not derail the existing tranquility between the two states.
Acts of crime, whosoever commits them, should be condemned by all, Doye said, adding that instead of being unilateral, the protest should have been an inclusive one of the truck unions of both the states to avoid punishing Arunachal for the mistake of a few.
Agreeing with Doye’s appeal, the truck union leaders echoed the idea of making a collective effort to bring the perpetrators to justice.
They have demanded that the Upper Siang administration and police trace the culprits at the earliest, and that the Dhemaji administration take up the matter with its Yingkiong counterpart.
When contacted, Yingkiong Police Station OC Inspector T Tamut said the FIR has indeed been lodged, and informed that investigation is underway to nab the culprits.
When told about the economic blockade at Silapathar, the OC cited technical difficulties in ensuring swift police action against the attackers of the truck driver. He said the police was informed very late about the incident.
“While the incident occurred in the intervening night of 3 and 4 July, the complaints were filed only on 11 July,” he said.
Tamut also said the reported incident site at Silli village is over 80 kilometres from the Yingkiong police station where the FIR is registered, thus making it even more difficult for the police to investigate properly.
“More importantly,” the OC said, “the victims are yet to visit the police station and give a detailed narration of the incident to help the police crack the case sooner.”