Earlier on October 26 this year, police personnel resorted to lathicharge and tear gas shells to disperse irate students protesters in Arunachal Pradesh’s Namsai district Credit: EastMojo image 

Tinsukia: Tension gripped Arunachal’ Pradesh’s Namsai district during a 12-hour bandh called by All Tai-Khamti Singpho Students’ Union (ATKSSU) on Saturday as protestors locked down Namsai police station amidst report of clashes between two tribes at multiple locations, leaving several injured.

According to sources, members of Tai-Khamti Singpho and Adi communities came face to face at Jintu bridge at Chowkham — while one side of bridge is dominated by the Adi community, the other side by Tai Khamti Singpho tribe. “The face-off resulted in stone pelting between the two groups, leaving over a dozen injured prompting police to resort to tear gas shelling,” said police officials.

Meanwhile, on Sunday, home minister Bamang Felix along with MLAs Jikke Tako and Hayeng Mangfi, DGP RP Upadhayaya, IGP Ravindra Singh visited Namsai to take stock of the situation.

Felix said that the state government has convened a meeting with all stakeholders of Namsai in Itanagar on December 2 in this regard. He also appealed everyone to maintain peace and harmony in the region.

The development comes close on the heels of burning of houses belonging to the Adi tribe at New and Old Mabira in the month of October this year, followed by clashes between Adi Students’ Union and security forces a week later, prompting security forces to take out a flag march in the town.

According to sources, ATKSSU had written a letter to the deputy commissioner of Namsai informing him about their decision to call a bandh. “The ATKSSU and All Namsai Area Youth Association being grossly aggrieved for the inaction and non registration of the FIR dated 28.10.2019 filed by us before OC, Namsai police station regarding causing communal disharmony etc by the AdiSU and its party at Namsai have decided to observe a 12-hour bandh call in Namsai and Chongkham area on 23.11.19 from 6.00 am to 6.00 pm,” the letter read.

Copy of letter addressed to Namsai DC by ATKSSU

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“Earlier in the day, protestors of ATKSSU gheraoed Namsai police station demanding justice and police action. They locked down the police station with over 100 policemen inside the station,” said sources in Arunachal police.

According to sources, the protestors were demanding registration of FIR and arrest of Adi Students’ Union members involved in causing communal disharmony earlier. “The protestors were angry over police inaction on their complaint. They alleged that police released the Adi people arrested on Friday while its community members are still in jail,” said sources.

Speaking with EastMojo, Namsai SP in-charge Sanjay Sain said, “We have heard the demands of the protestors and registered an FIR. Police investigation will take place and action will be taken as per law.”

“There were clashes at New Mabira and Chowkham between two communities in which few persons were injured due to stone pelting,” said Sain, adding that the police resorted to tear gas shelling to bring the situation under control.

The 12-hour bandh evoked total response bringing normal life came to a standstill. “All shops and offices remained closed,” said sources.

According to the sources, the situation turned violent in October this year almost a week after suspected member of ATKSSU burned down houses belonging to Adi tribe 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,” sources said, adding, “The rally resulted in a clash between protestors and security forces.”

Later, in the evening on same day, miscreants burnt down four houses and a shop, belonging to Adi tribe people, at Old Mabira.

According to sources, the police station gherao continued till the time of filing this news report.

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