BRTF blames high-handedness of few to Army- civilian scuffle

ITANAGAR, May 27: Reacting to reports published on 24 and 25 May in this daily regarding a scuffle that broke out between the Army and villagers in Jameri, West Kameng district, and the subsequent demand for arrest of the GREF and Army personnel, the 14th Border Road Task Force (BRTF) said that “a minor scuffle flared up due to vested interested and high handedness of few individuals.”
In a statement, 14th BRTF Colonel BS Katal said, “despite putting their lives at risk in performing the herculean task of clearance of landslides, the dozer operators and the BRO staff have to bear with high handedness and misbehavior of few locals with vested interests, who want immediate clearance of the road and want GREF to obey their diktat for opening the road as per time and place of their own choosing.”
Colonel Katal said that an effort was made by the Border Road Organization officers to meet local leaders to resolve the issue but it failed. He said that efforts are still on to reach an amicable settlement.
“Mr Bachu Libasow (Circle Office staff) broke the line and came ahead and demanded removal of a truck stuck in landslide area. On refusal by the BRO labour, he slapped one of them and kicked the operator, which injured him” Colonel Katal claimed.
He further went on to claim that the contractual labourers called the JE-in-charge of the sector fearing further thrashing and being outnumbered, following which, the JE-in-charge sent the territorial Army for their rescue and to resolve the matter amicably.
Meanwhile, police sources informed that according to preliminary investigation, Libasow was engaged by the Jameri circle officer to coordinate with the GREF to clear the blockade at the first block point.
When Libasow requested the dozer operator, the operator refused to clear saying that in the absence of their site engineer, he will not work and that the fuel in dozer was low.
After the operator refused to clear the vehicle, Libasow reportedly called the Jameri circle officer and let the CO speak directly with the operator. Despite instructions from the CO, the operator was allegedly not clearing the vehicle and Libasow lost his temper. However, the matter was resolved there on the spot.
After the incident, the Indian Army, who rushed to the spot, intercepted Libasow on the way to the second block point and tried to beat him. Libasow reportedly escaped and managed to get back to the village and informed the villagers.
When the Army team was coming back, the villagers who had gathered by then, tried to inquire about the matter. By then, an Army official attacked Libasow and injured him badly, police source added.