Police flouted democratic rights by detaining anti-dam activists

The detention of anti-dam activists Ebo Mili and Dunge Apang by the Itanagar police while union Power minister ML Khattar was on a visit to Itanagar is highly condemnable. They were released after more than 10 hours of detention and were made to sign bonds before being released. Mili is one of the prominent anti-dam activists of the state. He was arrested in the past too for his stand against the construction of mega dams. The arrest of Mili and Apang, who is the convener of the Siang Indigenous Farmers’ Forum (SIFF) is anti-democratic.

In a democratic country like ours, people can air their views without fear. The freedom of speech and expression enshrined in the Constitution guarantees full right to the citizens to express their views. Mili and Apang have every right to oppose the construction of mega dams in the state. Arresting them, fearing that they might have organised a protest during the visit of the union power minister to the state capital, is uncalled for. The democratic rights of the citizens should not be curtailed this way. The Itanagar police have acted in an undemocratic way by randomly detaining the duo. The misuse of law to harass ordinary citizens in this way should be condemned by everyone who believes in democratic values.