Wednesday evening’s aggression in upper Assam’s Sinitpur and Lakhimpur was not unforeseen. However, the police and paramilitary forces lathi charged, fired blanks in the air and after that supposedly fired on protestors, leaving hundreds injured.
Undeterred, people protesting against the building of the dam on Subansiri river on the border of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh were back on the streets on Thursday morning and blocked National Highway 52 to stop a truck carrying turbines to the dam.
RTI activist and farmers’ rights leader Akhil Gogoi led the protest, in which almost 20,000 people participated.
Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti leader Akhil Gogoi said that “We can never let this happen – we can take two steps backward and then take one step forward. People have come out on streets, Tarun Gogoi cannot take the turbine by violence.”
The protestors have received full support from Assam’s main opposition party – the Asom Gana Parishad or AGP and even the insurgent group United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA).
The protestors have demanded the intervention of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. The state government is in a spot, yet the Chief Minister sounded defiant.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said that “Definitely some protests are there. Inspite of the protests, we want to go ahead.”
As the government is determined to go ahead, and the protestors are reluctant to shift, clearly, there is much water left to flow untill the controversial Subansiri Dam project is completed.