Tourists, visitors attacked in Mechukha

Staff Reporter
MECHUKHA, Nov 27: In an incident that could potentially damage the reputation of Mechukha, in West Siang district, as a tourist destination, a few locals of Mechukha and Tato areas mercilessly attacked tourists and Arunachalee visitors here on the intervening night of 25 and 26 November.
Eyewitnesses informed this daily that two intoxicated men were loitering around the camp site of the Adventure@Mechukha Festival and eventually began to give a hard time to the tourists at the camp.
“The two men were misbehaving with some tourists from Pune and the UK at first. We intervened and managed to get them to leave the area. However, they returned with more men and weapons such as sticks and daos (machete) and began provoking those at the camp again. When another Arunachalee man intervened and asked them not to bother the tourists, they got into a fight with him and things escalated from there,” the eyewitnesses said.
“The brawl was mainly between Arunachalees, with one group trying to intimidate the tourists and the other group trying to stop them from doing that. It was shameful to witness tourists being bullied by our own people,” the eyewitness added.
While several people received injuries during the incident, Tony Sonam, who broke his left arm, informed that he and his friends were occupied in the camp activities when they noticed a group of around five men trespassing into the camp area and jostling with a senior member of the group.
“When we tried to stop the hustle, the group attacked us with wooden sticks and machete,” Sonam said.
He informed that in the course of the fight, one Papu Dolo and one Gida Gagung, who were bleeding from the head, lost consciousness.
The two of them were rushed to the Tomo Riba Institute of Health & Medical Sciences (TRIHMS) in Naharlagun by helicopter the very next morning (Monday).
Regarding his injury, Sonam informed, “The bones of my left arm were broken while defending against a blow from a wooden stick by an unidentified person in the group during the clash.”
He said he has filed an FIR with the officer-in-charge at the Mechuka police station.
Dolo and Gagung, who received grievous injuries, have been shifted to GNRC Hospital in Guwahati (Assam). Doctors at the TRIHMS suggested taking them to a neurosurgeon.
Sonam and Gagung were working at the campsite under the banner ‘Camp Urban Jungle’, while Dolo was the guitarist of a band performing at the festival.
When contacted, the older sister of Gagung said her brother has regained consciousness but is not out of danger as he is unable to recognize people.
She informed that the doctors termed it a case of haematoma and have asked to keep him in conservative treatment for seven days.
However, the doctors did not assure of an early recovery, she said.
On the other hand, the wife of Dolo, Techi Modum, said her husband’s condition is more or less the same as that of Gagung, and “he does not even remember his own name.”
She informed that there was blood coagulation in Dolo’s head, which she said the doctors are trying to clear at the earliest.
Both the injured are currently under intensive care.
Speaking to this daily, West Siang Superintendent of Police Jummar Basar informed that the main accused in the case, Papor Yorni, is absconding from Mechukha town.
He said the police in Mechukha received a complaint on Monday morning against ‘Papor Yorni and party’ for the assault at the camp site.
The other attackers could not be identified as the complainants, though being from Arunachal, are not from the area, the SP informed.
He said he could not divulge further information as it could affect the process of investigation.
While there are reports that some tourists received minor injuries during the brawl, the SP said the police in Mechukha have not received any official complaint from tourists from outside the state.