Six hurt during eviction drive clash

ITANAGAR: The ripples of anti-eviction protest in Assam have crossed the borders of the state and reached neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh.

On Monday, at least six women, including a magistrate and a police constable, were injured when police fired tear-gas shells to disperse an unruly mob during an eviction drive in East Siang district. District magistrate Onit Panyang said violence broke out when a group of women and youths, opposing the move, restrained the administration from evicting encroachers from a stretch of reserve forest.

“Some of the agitators tried to damage JCVs pressed into service during the drive and also attacked the magistrate and police personnel on duty,” added Panyang. Left with no option, police had to fire tear-gas shells to disperse the agitators, he said.

He added that a magistrate, a woman constable and four woman protesters reportedly received minor injuries during the operation. “Before starting the drive, we promulgated prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC and repeatedly requested the encroachers to cooperate with the administration,” the DM said.

Out of 130 unauthorized constructions, altogether 103 houses, including RCC buildings, were demolished during the drive. However, 27 encroachers obtained stay order against eviction from Gauhati high court. Panyang lauded policemen and forest officials for making the drive successful.

On June 22, three persons, including a child, were killed during an anti-eviction demonstration of the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) at Dispur in Assam. Tle leader of KMSS, Akhil Gogoi, was arrested while he was addressing a press conference at the Guwahati Press Club, a day after the incident. He was charged with instigating violence during the anti-eviction rally.

A team of police personnel led by additional SP Longnit Teron and magistrate Pulak K Mahanta swooped down on the club while Akhil was presenting his views on the alleged high-handedness of the government while dealing with the anti-eviction rally.

The samiti leader, who is also an RTI activist, was arrested barely 10 minutes after he had started briefing the media.

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