Over 1,000 passengers stranded in Assam amid protests
Guwahati, Jan. 27 (IANS): At least 1,100 train passengers were stranded at New Haflong railway station in Assam’s Dima Hasao district since Friday as protests continued on Saturday against police firing that killed two persons.
The curfew continued in Maibong and some adjoining areas on Saturday. Dima Hasao Deputy Commissioner, Deva Jyoti Hazarika said they have failed to send the stranded passengers to their destinations as the picketers have damaged the railway tracks.
The agitating organisations have also called a 48-hour bandh since the police firing on Thursday morning. The protesters stopped the Guwahati-bound Silchar-Guwahati fast passenger train at New Haflong station on Friday. The passengers have been stranded since then.
“There are close to 1,100 passengers who are stranded. The picketers have damaged the tracks at many places and removed the fish plates. It will take time to repair them and resume the movement of trains,” Hazarika said.
“We have requisitioned 25 buses from Guwahati to send the stranded passengers to their destinations by road. However, the picketers did not allow the buses to proceed to New Haflong,” the Deputy Commissioner told IANS.
He said the district administration has arranged food, drinking water, medicines and other basic amenities for the stranded passengers.
“Security has been arranged for the safety of the stranded passengers at the railway stations,” he said.
“Curfew is continuing in Maibong. We have relaxed the curfew for two hours on Saturday — from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. — but will continue after 4 p.m.,” Hazarika said.
He added although there were no reports of any violence, some stray incidents of protests were reported from some places.
Several social organisations in Dima Hasao district have been agitating for more than last one week after rumours spread that the Central government has agreed to set up satellite councils for the Nagas in the district as part of the talk process between NSCN-IM and the Central government.
One such protest rally turned violent in Maibong on Thursday when the mob attacked the security forces and the railway station, forcing the security forces to open fire, leading to injury to nine protesters and some policemen.
Two of the injured protesters died on Friday, which has further fuelled the protests.