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Protests in Assam over 'pact' with ultras

October 05, 2012 20:38 IST

After a lull trouble is once again brewing in Dima Hasao (erstwhile North Cachar Hills) district of Assam with the Indigenous People's Forum (IPF), a banner organisation of non-Dimasa ethnic groups, protesting the Centre's intension to sign a memorandum of understanding with militant Dima Halam Daogah (DHD) without heeding to the IPF's demand for bifurcation of the hill district into two autonomous council instead of the existing one. 

The IPF comprising principal ethnic groups Hmar, Kuki and Jemi Naga, have demanded bifurcation of Dima Hasao district into two autonomous district councils under the framework of the Article 244(2) of the sixth schedule of the Constitution of India.

"Taking into consideration the plight of the indigenous people of Dima Hasao, we appeal to the government that before signing of the peace pact, implement our demand for bifurcation of the district into two autonomous district councils under the very constitutional framework of 244(2) of the sixth schedule to the Constitution of India. In fact we want a separate district council for non-Dimasa ethnic groups and the proposed territorial council for Dimasa tribe will not augur well for the welfare of non-Dimasa tribes," said IPF president Thong Lienthang.

The indefinite bandh called by the IPF on October 27 in protest against the move to sign pact with the DHD turned violent as it precipitated clashes between IPF members and cadres of DHD in truce. The bandh supporters also clashed with police on September 28 forcing the administration to clamp indefinite curfew to prevent any further untoward incidents in the district that has history bloody ethnic cleansing between Dimasa and non-Dimasa groups.

Though the bandh was withdrawn by IPF from Wednesday after being persuaded by the Assam government, protestors belonging to Dimasa tribe on Friday hit the street in Haflong, the district headquarter in protest against the bandh culture introduced by the IPF that also allegedly resorted to violence during the bandh.

Thousands of people were demanding to maintain peace in the district and to take action against the perpetrators of violence.

Later they submitted a memorandum signed by several organisations to the Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi through the deputy commissioner of the district.

The memorandum stated that in spite of the bandh being banned by the Supreme Court and subsequently by Gauhati high court on August 29, Dima Hasao happened to be the first district in Assam to be subjected to total a bandh from September 27 to October 3. 

Meanwhile, a Chinese grenade was recovered at synod point in the heart of Haflong town on Friday morning. Police recovered the grenade which was found lying on the road side with its pin removed. Army and police rushed to the spot and defused the grenade.

In another incident, miscreants fired a few rounds at the locomotive of Down Agartala Express bound for Agartala, damaging its radiator near Lower Haflong railway station at the wee hours of Friday.

Though the engine of train was damage but no one was injured, and the train was allowed to proceed towards Agartala at about 7.20 am after replacing the engine.

K Anurag in Guwahati