Hundreds of people from over fifty villages in the Misamari area in Sonitpur District staged protest at Misamari Butchery (Lakhupara) area against the alleged closure of a public road by the Indian army on Saturday.
The PWD road in Misamari constructed during the British era passes through the area connecting Assam-Arunachal Border area with NH-15. It has been a major means of communication for the people of the greater area. However, after Chinese aggression in 1962, the Indian Army has set up one of its biggest cantonments in the area occupying the public lands.
Earlier there was no restriction against movement of people through this PWD road. But for the last two decades the common people have been harassed in the Butchery gate in the name of security check. People allege that in the name of security checking school and college going students and even serious patients are kept waiting by the army causing much inconvenience.
According to the protesters, the army authority closes the road according to their whims though they do not have the right to do so. It is a public road maintained by the state PWD. For mitigating the problem the people of the area have submitted a number of representations to the authority concerned including the government of India and the ministry of defense, but there is no positive response in this regard from any end.
Moreover, the army authority is now going to put up six permanent gates in six different locations in the area to fully restrict the civilians’ movement in the area. On the other hand, as the area is adjoined with the Sonai Rupai wild life sanctuary, the wild life, particularly the wild elephants are losing their habitations due to the alleged construction of the boundary walls in the area.
In 2010, a PIL was filed in the Gauhati High court seeking withdrawal of closure of the road for the public which was later disposed off following assurance of the army authority that the public wouldn’t be harassed at any location in the name of security checking in the area.
While contacted the defence spokesperson Lt Col Harsh Wardhan Pande said, “We always want to ensure the security in the region with cooperation of the all sections of the people of the society.”