Congress sponsored Bharat Bandh on Monday witnessed road blockades and untoward incidents at Itanagar and Nalarlagun in Arunachal Pradesh.
Police arrested 73 workers of the Arunachal Pradesh Youth Congress (APYC) along with other Congress members. Some 50 of them were arrested from the Vivek Vihar tri-junction after they ignored requests by EAC Hengo Bassar to assemble at an allocated location.
State APYC president Geli Ete demanded the arrest of Capital Complex Superintendent of Police M Harshvardhan for damaging chairs and tables and injuring three party workers despite peaceful protests.
“The SP came out of his vehicle and grabbed my neck. Such behaviour is not acceptable from an IAS officer and he should be arrested,” Geli said claiming that they have recorded proof of the ‘excesses’.
Bassar declined to comment on APYC’s complaint against the SP. He also reminded that the administration had declared the bandh illegal.
Arunachal Pradesh Mahila Congress (APMC) also wrote a letter to the Director General of Police complaining against the SP for hurling abusive language at the party women workers. The committee also accused him of manhandling the women workers.
APMC general secretary Jarjum Ete said the SP arrested a small, innocent boy standing aside for no reason. “The kind of language the SP used is never uttered by the elite class of IPS officers,” she said, adding that the protest did not hamper vehicular movement and that no vehicle was attacked.
The APCC and APMC, in their complaint to the DGP, sought an apology from and disciplinary action against the Capital Complex SP within 48 hours.
Ete asked why Prime Minister Narendra Modi was not bringing fuels under GST.
“We are protesting on behalf of the common people who don’t have much knowledge about fuel price hike and its impact. All the high-salaried people are not being much affected by the price hike but the poor who work in the unorganised sector or contractual labourers are facing many problems. The BJP government is time and again ignoring the problems of the poor people of the country,” she said.
At a press briefing in the evening, APCC president Takam Sanjoy thanked the public for extending their support to the bandh call, which he said was for the common masses and against the skyrocketing prices of fuel, including LPG and drop in the value of the Indian currency.
“With the price of the crude oil in the international market now at $71 per barrel, the price of petrol should be Rs 48 today. But the BJP government instead of reducing the price is extorting and looting the public by increasing the petrol prices to gather funds for the upcoming elections,” he said.
Referring to the Rajasthan government’s reduction of VAT by 4% to tackle the increasing fuel prices Sanjoy said, “This exported and imported government of Arunachal is too blind, too sleepy and too indecisive and has not reduced local taxes on fuels that can ease the plight of the masses.”
He came down heavily on Harshvardhan for using vulgar words against senior women leaders.
Clarifying on burning of tyres on the day, Sanjoy said that the police provoked the Congress activist to resort to such practice. “The police should not have manhandled the women activists,” he said.
Sanjoy also tweeted that some 200 Congress office-bearers, APYC, National Students Union of India, Mahila Congress and others were arrested on the day from various places under Itanagar, Naharlagun and Likabali police stations while thousands were detained in the other districts of the state.
On the arrest of 73 Congress workers, Capital SDPO Kamdam Sikom said that they were taken under preventive detention and were released at 3 pm after a personal recognition bond.
“The bond means that they have taken oath not to do such act in future and to be present whenever police summons,” Sikom said.