'Infuriated' people block roads in Digboi town. Photo Credit - Northeast Now

The Assam Oil Division (AOD) of Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) is “facing the heat” vis-à-vis the death of a youth Sanjay Baidyo due to drowning during idol immersion ceremony of Goddess Durga in Digboi (Assam) on Friday evening at the newly built pond (meant for idol immersion). The AOD is being reportedly blamed for the youth’s death.

Two more youths had also got drowned during the immersion ceremony but were later rescued by the people. The Fire Service Department personnel of AOD deployed during the immersion ceremony had to “run for their dear lives” as the crowd became “violent”.

The former vice-president of Digboi Town Committee Mantush Dey alleged that the AOD authorities “totally failed to streamline the entire arrangements during the immersion ceremony” leading to the tragic death of Sanjay Baidyo of Digboi Kalibari area.

The relatives of the deceased in association with the Puja Suraksha Samiti and puja committees of Digboi resorted to a road blockade programme at Digboi Chariali Police Point on Saturday along with the corpse. The local people and the local organisations held the AOD authorities’ “half-baked work” responsible for the youth’s death and shouted slogans against them.

Meanwhile, hundreds of agitators demanded that AOD give “adequate compensation” to the bereaved family members of the deceased and job to one of the family members of the youth whose life was snuffed out in the prime.

Following the tragic incident, the puja committees of Digboi have decided to immerse Goddess Durga’s idols in the old pond from next year and not to use the new pond erected by the AOD authorities’ couple of years back as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Security forces were deployed after the magistrate failed to “pacify the angry crowd” who demanded that AOD officials give a written assurance that the victim’s family will be “compensated well”. The AOD authorities told the Northeast Now correspondent that they had made “adequate arrangements for smooth completion of the immersion ceremony” and regretted that a youth had to lose his life.

The Superintendent of Police, Tinsukia, Mugdhajyoti Dev Mahanta, said, “It is sad that a youth had to lose his life but mindless violence will not solve matters and neither blocking the National Highway would. Let the law take its own course.” The body of the youth Sanjay Baidyo is yet to be cremated and the agitation has intensified till the time of filing of this report.

Laxman Sharma

Laxman Sharma is Northeast Now Correspondent in Digboi. He can be reached at:

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