Police barricading a bridge to stop protesters in Namsai on Friday Credit: EastMojo image 

Tinsukia: A special investigsting team (SIT) has been formed to investigate the incidents of arson and vandalism at New Mabira and Old Mabira villages of Arunachal’s Namsai district on Saturday amid tension brewing between two communities in the region.

The development comes a day after stone pelting and clashes between Adi Students’ Union and security forces were reported at Jengthu Bridge on the outskirts of the town leading to over two dozen persons, including five policemen, getting injured.

Speaking with EastMojo, Namsai SP Ankit Singh said, “Saturday has remained peaceful. The last incident of violence was reported on Friday night at 7 pm when miscreants burnt down four houses and a shop at Old Mabira.”

The houses and shops belonged to people belonging to the Adi tribe.

“We are conducting flag march and have stepped up vigil of all vital installations and vulnerable areas,” Singh said, adding, “An SIT has been formed to investigate both the incidents. Two senior inspectors are part of the SIT which will be supervised by me and DSP Sepraj Perme.”

“We are conducting operation to arrest the culprits,” he added.

However, there were no reports of arrest of any culprits by then.

According to sources, the situation turned violent almost a week after suspected members of the All Tai Khampti Singpho Students’ Union burned houses of Adi people at New Mabira. “The failure on part of district administration and police to arrest the culprits even after representation by Adi Students’ Union to the deputy commissioner of Namsai, Bijoy Talukdar, compelled the students’ union to call for a protest rally.

“Adi Students’ Union in its representation to the DC had accused a few individuals of the All Tai Khampti Singpho Students’ Union (ATKSSU) for the arson and demanded their immediate arrest,” said the source, adding, “The district administration had clamped prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC ahead of the rally that was taken out on Friday and led to clashes between members of Adi Students’ Union and security forces.”

The administration had earlier declared the land where houses were constructed as encroached, the source added.

Attempts to speak to Namsai DC Bijoy Talukdar on Friday yielded no response as he said he was busy briefing his magistrates.

On Saturday afternoon, attempts to speak to Talukdar went answered, prompting this EastMojo correspondent to drop a WhatsApp message asking him about the situation at Namsai. Another message followed: “District administration needs to speak out on the situation for us to report as correctly as possible… Hope you understand,” only to elicit a response from Talukdar, saying, “I don’t have to understand. I understand my job. Talk to SP who is a part of the district administration and who is handling the situation.”

Accordingly to sources, deputy chief minister Chowna Mein is scheduled to address a press briefing on Saturday evening at the Namsai circuit house.

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