Wancho Council, the apex body of Wancho community in Arunachal Pradesh has decided to carry out a peaceful rally on Monday demanding justice for the family of Lamdaan Lukham who was allegedly killed in an army firing on Saturday.
Lukham, 60, died on the spot while several persons sustained injuries after security forces allegedly fired on residents at Pumao village in Arunachal Pradesh’s Longding district.
His mortal remains were laid to rest after a post mortem on Sunday.
His family and friends were present to bid him farewell, sources said.
The army in its statement, however, said the firing took place in retaliation during a search operation after it had intelligence inputs regarding movement and activities of NSCN (IM) cadres in the district.
The rally would start from the Longding general ground and culminate at the deputy commissioner’s office, WSU president Pongngoi Joham said.
The Wancho Students’ Union (WSU), Longding District Students’ Union, All Wancho Women Welfare Association and some other civil societies of the district have extended support to the rally.
Joham said certain demands which among others include, compensation to the family of the deceased and injured, government job to the kin of the deceased, inclusion of members from the Wancho community in the enquiry committee etc would be put in front of the government.
“It was difficult for the administration to allow the rally taking into account the present Covid-19 situation. But considering the public sentiment and demand we have allowed it to be held with certain restrictions,” Longding deputy commissioner Chesta Yadav said.
“The protestors have been asked to strictly maintain social distancing and wear face masks while participating in the rally as a violation of Covid-19 safety guidelines will attract action as per law.
“This rally is a one-time exception and only 50 people will be allowed to participate in it,” Yadav said.
The DC said that the law and order situation in the area is under control and the case is under parallel investigation following an FIR lodged at the Longding police station against the army personnel by Pumao head gaon bura Akai Wangpan.
A judicial enquiry was ordered into the case on Saturday.
Pasighat West MLA and former Lok Sabha member Ninong Ering condemned the incident and said that the army should not have taken advantage of the simple Arunachalees and use Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 on them.
Ering, who took to Twitter to express his disappointment, said, “It is very unfortunate that a person died and several others were injured in the Pumao incident. Rest in peace.
“I have always argued that people of Tirap, Changlang and Longding are between the devil and the deep sea. They are always harassed and tense because of the army, police and groups.”
The North East Student’s Organization (NESO) has also condemned the alleged killing and said “such act is unbecoming of the Indian Army which claims itself to be one of the most disciplined forces in the whole world.”
“The NESO is of the view that such instances which have repeatedly taken place in different parts of the region over the years have created negative aspersion and also widened the gap between the civilians and the armed forces in such areas.
“There has to be accountability for such omission and commission,” Samuel B Jyrwa, the chairman of the organization said in a statement.
Samuel said the heinous crime purported by the Indian Army has severely contradicted the very underlying purpose for which they have been deployed for in the region which is to maintain law and order and guard against any external aggression.
The NESO has further demanded the government to extend appropriate ex-gratia to the deceased and injured people and called for a thorough inquiry into the incident.