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Nagaland

Students’ protest met with water cannon, teargas in Kohima

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By Our Correspondent Updated: Jun 05, 2019 12:40 am
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Students and police in riot gear facing each other at the Secretariat Plaza in Kohima on Tuesday.

 

Police spraying water on protesters in Kohima on Tuesday.

Our Correspondent

Kohima, June 4 (EMN): The ‘indefinite hunger strike’ spearheaded by the All Nagaland College Students’ Union (ANCSU) here at the Secretariat Plaza witnessed the state government once again use water cannons and teargas to disperse the protesters.

Prior to that, at around 10.30 am, the president of ANCSU Katho P Awomi and three other leaders were “detained” by the police; and released later in the faternoon. The college students are demanding the state government to act on issues related to student’s welfare, including the “misappropriation of State Technical Scholarship funds.”

The students were prevented from proceeding towards the Directorate of Technical Education, after permission to stage their hunger strike was not granted.

At the intervention of Naga Students’ Federation and Angami Youth Organisation, the protestors agreed to call off the strike for the day.

However, situation took a different turn after the president’s release. He returned to address the crowd, announcing the union will go ahead with the strike and not call it off.

Police then sprayed water on the protestors for the second time at around 4 pm to disperse the crowd. They were chased till Tinpati area. Some students were reportedly injured.

Hunger strike will continue — ANCSU

Addressing media persons later in the  night, ANCSU officials informed that they have resolved to continue the “indefinite hunger strike” that began on Tuesday. “We have declared our indefinite hunger strike from today onwards,” said general secretary Vimeyiekho Vitso.

Speaking about the day’s incident, Vitso said they were “blocked halfway” while “peacefully marching” towards the Directorate of Higher and Technical Education.

“The state government rather than coming forward to address the genuine issues and popular demands of the student community, have used all forces and means to stop the ANSCU from going ahead with their demands,” Vitso said.

The ANCSU questioned on what grounds were its president and the other leaders arrested. It also condemned the “actions taken against the students by means of lathi charge, firing water cannon, and throwing teargas.”

According to the union, it was compelled to “come this far” because the government has ‘neglected our genuine demands.’

Asked about the declaration of Dimapur bandh, the vice president of ANCSU Benjong Longchar said that the union was “not informed officially” of any such steps. He said it was an “unofficial information that was received on social media.”

“We cannot stop them because it is retaliation from the students’ community against the brutal incident that had happened today,” Longchar added.

In regard to the district administration’s refusal to allow the hunger strike, the union officials said that Article 19 of the Indian Constitution gives citizens the “right to assemble peacefully.”

“If we are to seek permission to exercise our rights, the welfare of the citizens are at stake, ” the union officials said.

6103
By Our Correspondent Updated: Jun 05, 2019 12:40:31 am