Majuli (Assam): Protests broke out in Assam’s Majuli on Thursday over the boat capsize in Brahmaputra, prompting the police to baton-charge the people, including students, officials said.
Power Minister Bimal Borah, who reached Majuli ahead of Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma‘s visit, was gheraoed by the agitating students, forcing him to sit on the road at Garmur Chariali for almost half-an-hour as he tried to talk to the protesters.
Trying to pacify the agitators, Borah said, “I have come here to listen to your grievances. You please talk among yourselves and then let a delegation meet us with your demands.”
Though he tried to end the protests, he left when agitators did not relent and demanded the chief minister to come and talk to them.
Borah silently walked away as the police escorted him out of the crowd.
“No tickets are given on the boats and no life jackets are there. We have been hearing about a bridge since our birth, but not a single pillar is seen so far,” a protesting student said.
Another student said that they asked several questions to Borah, but “he could not answer anything”.
When the situation got tense with protesters trying to break a barricade, police and paramilitary personnel used force to disperse the crowd.
“We had to use mild lathi-charge after the crowd became restless. We have reports of some protesters sustaining injuries, but cannot confirm the number,” a police officer said.
An agitating student claimed the police baton-charged the peaceful protesters without any provocation.
Representatives of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) met the chief minister as he visited Majuli following the protests. They demanded punishment for those responsible for the boat capsize.
At least one person is dead and two more missing after a private boat with 90 people onboard capsized and sank in Brahmaputra on Wednesday evening, following a head-on collision with a government-owned ferry near Nimati Ghat in Jorhat district.
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