HOMELAND SECURITY: Assam mulls arms for villagers – Dozen groups launch blockade to demand boundary security, Gogoi govt to highlight attacks – Licensed guns, the only way to keep track and defend against crime or else lawless rules with greater fire-power ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH
BY RIPUNJOY DAS
Dibrugarh, Aug. 21: Worried over the recent spate of attacks by goons backed by the Naga militants from Arunachal Pradesh on residents of the inter-state border areas, Assam police are contemplating providing arms to them as a first line of self-defence mechanism to ensure the safety of the villagers’ lives and property.
Disclosing this to The Telegraph, Assam police, inspector-general of eastern range, L.R. Bisnoi, said the idea had been given a serious thought in view of the escalation of violence at Charaipung in Upper Assam’s Sivasagar district for the last few days.
Bisnoi said the proposal (to provide weapons) was at an initial stage and being considered because of repeated applications from the villagers in the border area for arms and ammunition so that they can take some measures during such attacks.
Local villagers and the indigenous people of the border villages of Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland have guns, mostly countrymade, with them.
“These guns have now become the major cause of worry for us as our villagers do not have guns with them. Those who had guns earlier had deposited their weapons with the police in the early nineties because of the Ulfa problem,” Bisnoi said.
The very thought that goons across the border are armed with guns brings a sense of insecurity and always gives the Arunachal side an advantage. Arming the Assamese villagers, therefore, would not only give them some sense of security, but help them in self-defence, Bisnoi said.
The additional director-general of police, B.K. Misra, visited the conflict zone last evening and held a discussion with senior police officers and officials today.
A source said the issue of providing arms to the villagers also featured during the discussions.
Charaipung is a huge area having a border outpost for the safety and security of the people until it was upgraded to a full-fledged police station on January 1, this year. The upgrading process is yet to be completed.
Twelve organisations, including the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) today began an indefinite economic blockade of Tirap district of Arunachal Pradesh by blocking the three main routes to the district.
These are Bimalapur Longding Road, Nefa Road through Kanubari in Sivasagar district and Joypur-Khonsa Road in Dibrugarh district. “The Assam government had totally failed to provide any security to its border people. Therefore, we have decided to take up the economic blockade programme from today. We will only intensify our agitation against the Assam government and Arunachal Pradesh if the matter is not sorted out soon,” AASU general secretary Tapan Gogoi, who visited the site today, said.
An AGP delegation, led by its vice-president and MLA Pradip Hazarika and chief spokesperson Atul Bora, also visited Charaipung today and lambasted the Tarun Gogoi government for lack of policy to settle the border issues. Bora said the AGP would raise the Charaipung issue in Parliament as well as in the next Assembly session.
GANGSTERS & CRIME: 4 hurt in clash – all licensed arms just below the Chickens Neck, quite impossible ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Malda, Aug. 22: One person was shot at and three others were injured when two groups of carom players clashed in a Kaliachak village last night.
Police said the clash that took place over betting on a carom match between two local clubs continued for over 30 minutes at Shersahi village in Kaliachak, about 30km from here, with both sides using guns and throwing bombs. Three persons have been arrested.
The injured — Mannan Sheikh, Hazrat Sheikh, Abdul Sheikh and Bastu Momin — have been admitted to hospital. Mannan who had suffered bullet injuries on the back has been referred to a Calcutta hospital.
District superintendent of police Bhuban Mondal said no complaint had been lodged by anybody.
“We have started an investigation on our own. Three persons have been arrested,” he said. Patrolling had been introduced in the area.
The police said the trouble broke out after the losing side walked out of the game without shelling out the money they had betted on. An argument soon followed and then the clash.
Local people said betting over the game of carom had become popular in the past few months. “Local clubs and even individuals hire out the boards for Rs 20 for an hour and every evening the games go on till late into the night,” a villager said.
The Congress pradhan of Alipur II gram panchayat, Rahima Bibi, said the betting was gradually becoming more aggressive. “We have complained to the police many times but they have only ignored our warning. Many youths are being lured into the racket,” she said.