Two Killed in Police Firing on Anti-Dam Activists in Arunachal

A peaceful protest turned hostile when the court rejected monk and anti-dam activist Lama Gyatso’s bail plea.

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Peaceful protesters in Tawang region of Arunachal Pradesh on Monday, 2 May 2016. (Photo: Anjana Dutta)

Two people were killed and six other critically injured on Monday when police fired at agitators. The protesters attempted to barge into a police station in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tawang town, allegedly demanding immediate release of Buddhist monk and anti-dam activist, Lama Lobsang Gyatso.

Two people succumbed to their injuries and six others were injured after police were forced to open fire when a mob of people attempted to barge into a police station demanding the release of Lama Lobsang Gyatso.
Shakuntala Gamlin, Chief Secretary

She said the injured people were taken to a military hospital for treatment.

The situation is now under control. District authorities have constituted a peace committee to control the situation.
Shakuntala Gamlin, Chief Secretary

The army staged a flag march in Tawang town to bring the situation under control while prohibitory orders were imposed on the town.

On Thursday, police arrested Gyatso, for allegedly defaming the Tawang Monastery Abbot and spiritual head of the Mon region, Guru Tulku Rinpoche.

Gyatso, a monk heading the Save Mon Region Federation, questioned Rinpoche’s nationality in an audio clip.

The ‘Save Mon Region Federation’ (SMRF) is opposing hydroelectric power projects in Mon-Tawang region.

Residents said a large number of people, including Buddhist monks, gathered in Tawang town on Monday where Gyatso was supposed to be presented in a court.

A peaceful protest turned violent when the court rejected Gyatso’s bail plea.

The violent agitators then laid siege to the Tawang police station, demanding immediate release of Gyatso. After the violence, police again presented him in court which granted him bail.

Peaceful protesters in Tawang region of Arunachal Pradesh on Monday, 2 May 2016. (Photo: Anjana Dutta)
Peaceful protesters in Tawang region of Arunachal Pradesh on Monday, 2 May 2016. (Photo: Anjana Dutta)

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Kalikho Pul termed the incident as most unfortunate and said that the loss of lives and injuries to the others was indeed a sad moment in the history of the state. He conveyed his condolences to the victims’ families.

He urged the people of the state to maintain peace.

There is a need for the peace process to be activated not just at the place of incidence, but also across Tawang and adjacent districts as the issue is highly emotive and needs to be handled very compassionately.
Kalikho Pul, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister

Appealing to the people to uphold peace, Governor JP Rajkhowa said Tawang was the “pride of all Arunachalees and crown of Tourism Arunachal”.

“The people of Tawang must rise above personal differences and problems,” he said.

He said Arunachal Pradesh, particularly the Mon region, has always been known for harmony and serenity.

Rajkhowa also pleaded to the lamas and elders to guide the people towards amity and reconciliation.

(With inputs from IANS)

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