Politics

Two Killed in Assam During Protest Against Draft Naga Agreement Proposed by RSS Member

Curfew has been imposed in Dima Hasao district following the police firing.

Credit: Twitter/@sushmitadevmp

New Delhi: Two people were killed in Assam’s Dima Hasao district when police opened fire at demonstrators protesting a draft Naga agreement proposed by a member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) which suggests that “separate development authorities (be) constituted for a period of ten years to execute development programmes in the Naga inhabited regions” outside of Nagaland.

The draft plan showed that the district is part of ‘Greater Nagalim’.

Mithun Dibragede, 27, succumbed to his injuries on the way to Guwahati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) from Haflong, the district headquarters, on January 25. The other, 17-year-old Prabanta Hakmaosa, died at the GMCH on January 26.

According to local media reports, curfew has been imposed in the district.

Following incidents of violence, Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal directed two of his cabinet ministers to visit the district. In a statement from New Delhi, he said not an inch of Assam’s land would be compromised for the Naga Agreement.

The protest at Dima Hasao. Credit: Facebook

The draft, prepared by Jagdamba Mall, a known face of the RSS in the Northeast, was sent to some media houses and was first published in The Wire. Though Mall categorically said in the report that it was his “personal effort” that emanated from his “study of the Naga issue for over 45 years”, it was reliably learnt to have the support of the RSS.

In a clarification issued to the media after the report was published on January 20, Mall reiterated that it was his personal effort. “There is no such draft plan, neither from the RSS nor from the BJP,” he added.

RSS’s prachar pramukh for Northeast, Shankar Das, has maintained a distance from Mall’s proposition and even denied that he belongs to the organisation.

Meanwhile, Mall’s proposition about Dima Hasao district triggered a huge protest in the area. On January 22, hundreds of people took part in a rally that began at Lal Field area of Haflong and ended in front of the deputy commissioner’s office.

Led by Jadhike Naisho Hoshom, the apex body of the Dimasa community, the protesters, including members of students unions, women’s organisations and leaders of political parties besides the general public, later submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi through the DC demanding a clarification from the central and state governments on the draft. The protesters also demanded that Mall visit Haflong and tender an apology for including the district in his proposition by January 24.

As per media reports, miscreants attacked the local RSS office on the night of January 22.

On January 25, the protesters called a 12-hour bandh in the district demanding an apology. Hundreds of protesters blocked the railway lines in the district’s Maibang area and even forced passengers of a Silchar-bound train to get down. According to media reports, the protesters resorted to violence thereafter and damaged police vehicles. When the protesters reportedly began to attack policemen, they opened fire, injuring seven.

The injured were rushed to the civil hospital in Haflong. The hospital tried to shift two of the critically injured to the GMCH.

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