Assam dam protests continue despite police action

Protests continued in parts of Lakhimpur district of Assam against a proposed dam and hydroelectric project despite a pre-dawn crackdown by police, who fired in the air and used teargas to clear the activists from the Ranganadi bridge.

Despite prohibitory orders being enforced at Lakhimpur, a large crowd of protestors continued pelting stones on vehicles at Chawldhowa area of the district during a 48-hour bandh, called by the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) and other organisations.

The activists are opposing the 2000 MW Lower Subansiri hydro-electric project at Gerukamukh along the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border. Several vehicles, including trucks carrying fuel and essential commodities for NHPC's project at Gerukamukh and other parts of Arunachal Pradesh remained stranded along National Highway 52.

Bandhs against Monday's crackdown were also observed in Sivasagar and Dibrugarh districts of Upper Assam.

The people of Lakhimpur and the adjoining Dhemaji district are against big dams because it would cause more suffering to their lives and livelihoods," KMSS assistant general secretary Bedanta Laskar said.

Protesters also blocked the highway at many places with boulders. People from Arunachal Pradesh who had to pass through Lakhimpur were also affected as they were stranded due to the ongoing stir. One person from Arunachal Pradesh was reportedly injured in stone-pelting at Chawldhowa.