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Itanagar: Two persons, including a graffiti artist from Assam, have been arrested for allegedly defacing an artwork on the boundary wall of the civil secretariat in Arunachal Pradesh, a police officer said here.

Nilim Mahanta, an artist-cum-activist, was arrested from North Lakhimpur district in Assam, while advocate E Mili was arrested from Roing in Lower Dibang Valley district on Sunday night.

They were arrested on charges of defacement of a public property here by writing anti-dam slogans, Capital Superintendent of Police Jimmy Chiram said.

“Both the accused have defaced portion of the mural depicting art and culture of the tribal community by writing ‘No More Dams’,” the SP said.

A case under the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984 has been registered against them at the Itanagar police station, the SP said.

The artwork – ‘Wall of Harmony’ – was done on the occasion of the golden jubilee celebrations of the state.

Mahanta was picked up from North Lakhimpur with the coordination of the Assam Police and there was no force involved as alleged by people of the neighbouring state, the Arunachal Pradesh police officer said.

Activists in the northeastern state are against the construction of big dams on the grounds that they will flood fertile lands, destroy flora and fauna, and displace people.

Condemning the defacement of the mural, a senior artist of the state said such an act cannot be tolerated.

The hard work of the persons involved in drawing the mural was disrespected and this cannot be allowed, he said.

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