Police detain SUMAA leaders on extortion charges

Staff Reporter
ITANAGAR, Jul 24: The police here detained Students’ Union Movement of All Arunachal’s (SUMAA) general secretary Suraj Ligu and convenor Tarh Rekam on Tuesday for their alleged involvement in extortion, and on the detention order issued by the West Kameng deputy commissioner under Section 3(i) of the Arunachal Pradesh Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 2014.
Capital Complex SP M Harsha Vardhan informed that the duo was arrested from here after multiple complaints of extortion were received from traders and government officials.
“The extortion attempts were in connection with the SUMAA activities in Bomdila. A case of attempt to extortion has been registered at the Naharlagun police station and the police are on the lookout for other accused persons as well,” he informed.
“We have clear evidence of their direct involvement in extortion in terms of CCTV footage, calls, etc,” the SP said.
The duo was taken to the capital complex deputy commissioner’s office for production before the district magistrate. Later, they were remanded to judicial custody and sent to the district jail in Jully.
However, towards the evening, several SUMAA members surrounded the district jail for a few hours, and issued threats against some officials on duty.
The capital SP said the police have already begun the process of identifying those protesting outside the jail, and added that they would also be arrested.
“I appeal to all concerned to not tolerate extortion and report to us if they face any such issue. We will definitely take action,” the SP assured.
On 23 July, the West Kameng deputy commissioner had issued an order, noting that Ligu and Rekam, along with 15 other SUMAA members were allegedly “engaged in intimidating residents and shopkeepers in Bomdila market, publicly threatening to damage private properties, extorting money, illegally picking items from shops, forcefully lifting petrol from fuel stations, resulting in creating feelings of insecurity and fear in general public and shut down of markets thereby hindering essential supplies and daily items.”
As per complaints received, Ligu and Rekam were “involved in gherao of the Bomdila police station, mental torture, intimidation and harassment of various shopkeepers in Bomdila market.”
The SPs of West Kameng and the capital complex have been directed to implement the order and keep the duo in preventive detention.
Later in the evening, speaking to reporters, SUMAA president Tagru Tame reiterated that they did not intimidate the traders in Bomdila, and that they (traders) had in fact assured the SUMAA of their support in the drive against Tibetan refugees enjoying double benefits and acquiring land rights, etc.
On the arrest of Ligu and Rekam, he denied the allegations levelled against them as well.
“We were supposed to go to Bomdila on Tuesday to seek the status of the 14 Tibetans enjoying double benefits of ST and refugee, etc, but they (Ligu and Rekam) were picked up from their homes under the APUAP Act,” Tame said.
Claiming that the two SUMAA members have been detained under trumped up charges, he condemned the state government, and said the SUMAA would continue it movement in the interest of the indigenous people of the state.