The North East Students’ Organization (NESO), comprising of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), Khasi Students’ Union (KSU), Naga Students’ Federation (NSF), Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP), Twipra Students’ Federation (TSF), All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU), Garo Students’ Union (GSU) and All Arunachal Pradesh Students’ Union (AAPSU) strongly condemned the ‘brutal attack’ on unarmed students and journalists along the Assam-Mizoram border at Zophai, Bairabi town, Kolasib District, Mizoram on March 8 and 10 by Assam Police personnel.
“The Students were on their way to Zophai to build a rest house/shelter hut on land donated to them by the late Ch Chhunga, the first Chief Minister of Mizoram, when Assam Police led by the district administration of Hailakandi district, Assam lathi charged the unarmed students and journalists who were covering the incident. As many as 10 students were injured in the lathi charge on that day,” the NESO has stated.
“The students and some journalists were again assaulted by the Assam Police on March 10 in the same spot. The police lathi charged the unarmed group as well as several journalists who were present on the spot including two women journalists, although they made it clear several times that they were media persons who were merely covering the incidents. The Police did not only beat the students and journalists with lathis but also opened fire at them without any warning whatsoever. As many as 49 students and journalists were injured in the lathi charge and unprovoked firing on March 10, many injured persons and those with bullet wounds are currently being treated in hospitals in Mizoram,” the NESO alleged in a statement issued to the media on Thursday.
“NESO is deeply disturbed by the assault on unarmed students and journalists and strongly condemns the tragic incident. NESO demands that such police brutality should not happen again, and the concerned authorities, the District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police, Hailakandi district, must be punished because of what happened. NESO also demands that all the injured persons and those whose properties were damaged by the police unprovoked action should be duly compensated and the authorities of both Assam and Mizoram should take all necessary steps immediately to resolve the issue so that such untoward incidents do not happen in the future,” the press statement released by NESO chairman, Samuel Jyrwa stated.