2 Held After CM Sarma Says Silchar Floods Man-Made; Cop Denies Communal Angle
A section of the media floated around news from Silchar by terming it 'Flood Jihad' and 'Water Jihad.'
The Quint DAILY
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In the backdrop of Assam's Silchar being submerged under floodwaters for over a week, two people were arrested for allegedly cutting through an embankment of the Barak river, Cachar Superintendent of Police Ramandeep Kaur confirmed on 2 July.
The arrested individuals were identified as Mithu Hussain Laskar and Kabul Khan.
A week before the arrests, on his second visit to the inundated town in a week, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had indicated that the flooding was man-made by some 'miscreants.'
Subsequently, a section of local and national media ran the news by calling it 'Flood Jihad' and/or 'Water Jihad.'
However, Cachar SP in a press conference on Wednesday, 6 July, decried such connotations and denied any communal angle in the matter.
A resident of Bethkundi, which is situated on the outskirts of Silchar, Kabul Khan was nabbed by police officials on the night of 1 July, following which he was taken in for questioning and arrested.
Khan had allegedly filmed a video of the breach, and had been identified by the audio of the recording, which included his voice.
Meanwhile, Mithu Hussain Laskar was taken by the police on Saturday.
As per a report by IANS, at least six people were involved in the incident, and efforts to identify the others involved in the incident are still ongoing.
What CM Sarma Had Said
Speaking to reporters on 26 June, the CM had said, "Silchar’s flood was man-made. It would not have happened had the embankment at Bethukandi not been breached by some miscreants."
He went on to state that a case over the matter had been registered, and the Crime Investigation Bureau (CID) was probing it.
The district administration of Silchar too had highlighted that a breach in the Bethukandi embankment caused the water to gush to Silchar and its adjoining areas. The situation was exacerbated by heavy showers in the hills of Meghalaya and Mizoram.
However, locals in the area have claimed that the wall had been damaged by floods in May, and their calls for its repairs had fallen on deaf ears, IANS reported.
They added that consequently, some people of the area dug the embankment so that the water that entered their houses could recede into the river.
'Don't Spread Rumours': The SP's Statement
Addressing reporters, Ramandeep Kaur said, "Don't spread rumours without any basis or evidence. This particular incident has no communal angle. It is purely a matter where some persons who were suffering broke the dyke at Bethukandi. We are investigating into the matter as to why these people destroyed the government property. They will be dealt as per the existing law of the land."
"There are various words which are now coming up like 'Flood Jihad.' This is a word which we have never heard. So please do not get into these things. Silchar is a peaceful place where people belonging to various religious communities are staying together for long," she added.
Kaur went on to indicate that Cachar Police's IT cell was surveilling the spread of such false information, declaring that action would be taken against those spreading communal hatred.
In Assam, at least 180 people have died and over 89.13 lakh people have suffered cumulatively across 34 districts in the state since 6 April.
(With inputs from PTI, IANS, The Hindu, and Deccan Herald.)
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