More than 14 people including security personnel were hurt as police opened fire in the air to disperse Khamti and Adi Students’ Union (AdiSu) activists who clashed at Jenthu Bridge in Namsai on Saturday.

The injured, including 10 Khamti activists and 4 AdiSu activists, have been admitted to various hospitals along the Assam-Arunachal border.

As a chaotic situation prevailed in Namsai district of Arunachal Pradesh due to the 12-hour bandh called in Namsai and Chongkham areas, CRPF and police personnel were deployed near Jenthu Bridge.

Prohibitory order has been in force for the last three weeks in Namsai district.

The All Tai-Khamti  Singpho Students’ Union (ATKSSU), Namsai and All Namsai Area Youth Association (ANAYA) raised voice against Namsai Police for not registering a case lodged on October 22 last against the AdiSu for allegedly “causing  communal disharmony”.

ATKSSU and ANAYA called for bandh in the Namsai and Chongkham area seeking action against the AdiSu.

On Saturday, the bandh supporters clashed with the AdiSu in the morning near Jenthu river bridge.

The clash turned violent resulting in injuries caused to activists from both the sides.

The security forces intervened and police opened fire in the air.

‘Besides the conflicting parties, security personnel were also injured while making efforts to pacify the hostile groups,” informed a CRPF official adding, “The injured are being treated.”

Earlier on Friday, a similar unpleasant incident occurred between the two hostile groups at Tengapani near the sacred Golden Pagoda over encroachment in Tengapani reserve forest area.

The police had to arrest Nang Gao, president of the AdiSu apex body along with two other office-bearers as preventive measure to restore peace in the area.

However, the police set the arrested AdiSu members free at night following demands of the local affected people of the community thronging the Namsai PS.

Earlier on October 18, the AdiSu in a memorandum to the deputy commissioner of Namsai alleged that a mob armed with lethal weapons intruded New Mabira village in Chongkhang circle of Namsai district and set ablaze the sacred community hall on October 12 & 15.

On the other hand, the AdiSu has been demanding arrest of the culprits involved in torching the village houses.

A peace rally was organized by the AdiSu in support of their demands seeking compensation.

But it turned violent in Namsai after the locals obstructed the course of the rally near the bridge over Jenthu river.

The Adi-Mising people in Namsai district (earlier Lohit) were rehabilitated by the then chief minister of Arunachal Pradesh Gegang Apang in early 80s following consultation with the district administration.

The forest department is of the opinion that no NOC or ‘clearance certificate’ have been issued to these people for new settlement.

As such, the issue of encroachment in the Tengapani and Manabhum RF has remained a perennial threat to ecology and environment.

“Unauthorized human habitation would not be tolerated in the reserve forest,” said a top official of Namsai Forest department.

Though securities have been beefed up in the vulnerable areas of Namsai, life and property of the people are reportedly at stake.

Laxman Sharma

Laxman Sharma is Northeast Now Correspondent in Digboi. He can be reached at: laxmansharma.press@gmail.com