ITANAGAR, 17 Jan: The East Kameng Social Welfare & Cultural Organization (EKSWCO) has strongly condemned the blockade of National Highway (NH) 13 by people of Raik village in Leporiang circle since 14 January and targeting of commuters from East Kameng district, allegedly over a scuffle between two individual groups which took place on 14 January at Raik village in Papum Pare district.
In a press statement, the EKSWCO claimed on Sunday that, as per the official police report, on 13 January, at around 8:30 pm, the Pakke-Kessang police station officer-in-charge received information from one Sonam Tagio that he was assaulted by one Nabam Tayang and his friends of Raik village. He was stopped without any provocation while taking his JCB towards Raik village, the EKSWCO claimed.
The EKSWCO further claimed that the next day, the victim came to meet the gaon burah of Raik village along with 10 other people from Seppa to settle the issue. In spite of taking the initiative to resolve the matter, Nabam Gunia, the son of the accused, began provoking Tagio and his team, leading to violence.
The EKSWCO also claimed that, despite the incident being a personal matter, “some sections of Leporiang have started a targeted blockade and are targeting vehicles coming to and from East Kameng district, harassing innocent commuters.”
The EKSWCO said that on Saturday, the convoy of Sports & Youth Affairs Minister Mama Natung was stopped by the protestors.
In spite of the minister’s giving assurance to ensure speedy investigation to resolve the matter, and his appeal for lifting the blockade, some miscreants began to smash some vehicles in his presence, it claimed.
“We would like to remind everyone that while Mama Natung is a legislator from East Kameng, he is a minister representing the entire state. Such behaviour and disrespect towards a cabinet minister needs to be condemned from all corners of society,” the organization stated.
It further stated that innocent commuters of East Kameng have nothing to do with the scuffle, and “thus the general public of the district cannot be put to ransom for no fault.”
In a strongly worded statement, the EKSWCO pointed out that a national highway is not the property of any individual or group, and that it should not be used as a weapon of revenge against any individual or community.
“We will like to take note that a criminal has no colour, caste, creed or religion,” it stated.
“This Assam-style blocking of the road should not and will not be tolerated.
Blocking of highway is not a solution to a problem,” the EKSWCO said.
It cautioned the people residing alongside NH 13 in three districts – Papum Pare, Pakke-Kessang and West Kameng – not to be inspired by the incident and repeat such acts.
The EKSWCO also condemned the Papum Pare district administration for its failure to control the volatile situation. It claimed that, despite its having communicated to the Sagalee ADC about the deteriorating law and order situation, no concrete steps were taken.
It also stated that the government should issue a notification to the people residing alongside the national highway that whoever obstructs or blocks the highway would be booked under appropriate section of the law.
The EKSWCO commended the ANYA, the NES and the people of Leporiang circle for proposing a peace treaty through local customary law between East Kameng and Papum Pare districts in a meeting held on Sunday.