ASSAM
Reboti Pao, a villager who died on Wednesday after participating in the protest in Tinsukia

The ongoing protest by the villagers of Laika and Dodhia in Tinsukia district for the rehabilitation of around 1,480 families entered the tenth day on Wednesday.

These villagers are demanding the state government initiate measures to rehabilitate them.

They have been residing in Laika and Dhodhia villages under the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park of Upper Assam’s Tinsukia district for the past 70 years.

The protesters have set up relief camps at Lezaihola Borguri near the office of the Tinsukia deputy commissioner to pressurize the district administration for fulfilling their demands.

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Reboti Pao, a 55-year-old woman who returned home on Tuesday, died on Wednesday.

The villagers have declared her as the first martyr for their movement. Another three protesters fall ill on Wednesday and were admitted to the Tinsukia Civil Hospital.

Apio Taid, a member of Laika and Dodhia Rehabilitation Committee, said, “We have been protesting for the past 10 days, but no one from the district administration or any political party has visited us”

“We are protesting for the rehabilitation of 1,480 families of Laika and Dodhia, but apart from assurances the people have gained nothing,” Taid said.

“We have also sent a six-member team to Guwahati to meet chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal to discuss the issue of rehabilitation of 1,480 families of these villages,” Taid said.

“We have been living in the makeshift camps for the past 10 and due to the cold, some of the protesters have fallen ill. We will continue with the protest until our demands are met,” said a protestor.

Most of the people of the two villages migrated from the Murkongselek area of Dhemaji district after the massive earthquake of 1950. Since then, they have been living in the forest villages.

Meanwhile, Sarbananada Sonowal has constituted a committee to find a logical and permanent solution for the rehabilitation of these families within January 31.

Avik Chakraborty

Avik Chakraborty is Northeast Now Correspondent in Dibrugarh. He can be reached at: babs8oct@gmail.com