The hill district of Dima Hasao in Assam witnessed extensive violence and protests when police fired at a group of angry protesters without any warning and killed two people. Eight others were injured in the firing.
Beginning of the protest
Daniel Langthasa, an activist and singer from Dima Hasao told The Logical Indian, “The issue that people had was with the draft plan by Jagdamba Mall. There were reports by Assam’s local media channels starting November that there was a certain ‘Draft plan’ and that satellite councils and development councils would be set up in Dima Hasao under Nagalim. But, the source was not verifiable.”
On January 19, 2018, The Wire’s story titled “Revealed: RSS Draft Plan for Nagaland Accord” confirmed their doubts and people came out in streets to protest against the plan, says Daniel.
The plan drafted by Jagdamba Mall, an RSS functionary, proposed to include Dima Hasao in ‘Greater Nagalim’. Mall told The Wire that it was his “personal effort” that emanated from his “study of the Naga issue for over 45 years”. Mall was actively involved in drafting the Naga Peace Agreement which claims that the Naga inhabited districts of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur be consolidated as Greater Nagaland or Nagalim.
This caused a massive backlash from the Dimasa organisations of Dima Hasao- the Jadike Naiso Hosom, the Dimasa Student’s Union and the Dimasa Mothers’ Association, among others – who announced a band from 5 A.M. to 5 P.M. on Thursday.
The Dimasa tribes are wary of losing their land to Nagaland, should the district be included in Greater Nagaland. They are also earnestly in opposition to the idea of an autonomous body for Nagas living in Dima Hasao. Demanding an apology, a Jadike Naiso Hosom spokesperson said, “We vehemently oppose the idea (of including Dima Hasao in Nagalim) and had urged Mall to come to Haflong and seek an apology for his proposal to give away Dima Hasao to Nagalim by January 24. We had also urged the government to clarify the issue by the same date. However, as they have failed to do so, we have been compelled to call the bandh”).
On the day of the bandh
Angry protesters demanded immediate disclosure of the details of the Naga Accord (of which a framework was signed in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the National Socialist Council of Nagalim chief Thuingaleng Muivah in 2015) marched down the streets on January 22.
People of Dima Hasao came out in huge numbers to protest against the alleged RSS draft plan for Nagaland Accord.
Posted by Haflong Ko Asli Khobor on Monday, January 22, 2018
Again on January 25, Among their slogans one that stood out and was rather unusual was ‘RSS goo khaao’ (RSS eat shit). The Silchar-Guwahati fast passenger plying between Guwahati and Silchar was halted by protesters who blocked the rail tracks in Maibang.
The protestors when they thought that the driver might still take the train forward, damaged rail tracks.
The police, who were there during the entire scene, suddenly opened fire without any warning as told by various protests present there. Two people died and eight others were injured and taken to the hospital.
On January 26, Republic Day, people came out on the streets with black flags. There was a total boycott of the protest. They wanted justice for their comrades who died during the protest.
Republic day of India turned into a Black day for the people of Dima Hasao, Assam.
Posted by Haflong Ko Asli Khobor on Saturday, January 27, 2018
On January 27, Jagdamba Mall Denied any association with the draft plan and said nothing such exists. It also sought a formal apology from The Wire for the article.
“I indeed shared some thoughts with the said journalist, which was however twisted and turned in a mischievous manner, leading to lots of confusion,” he claimed.
However, Sangeeta Barooah Pisharoty, who reported the issue from The Wire, produced screenshots and email that were exchanged between them with the subject line “Proposed draft of Agreement between Government of India and Naga Negotiation Committee”.
On the other hand, Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, on January 29, in a written note said that Dima Hasao will remain in Assam.
“The chief minister assured the team that Assam’s map would not be allowed to be altered. He had taken up the matter with Union home minister Rajnath Singh yesterday (Sunday) who assured (Sonowal) that Assam’s territorial integrity would not be harmed. No divisive force would be allowed to succeed,” an official statement from the Chief Minister’s office said.
Sonowal also confirmed that no satellite councils or development councils would be allowed to be set up in Dima Hasao.
Daniel also added that inquiry has been initiated regarding the police shooting and killing of two protesters.
Daniel posted his sentiments on Facebook in a public status message.
Karni Sena, Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal, RSS destroys public property all over India for stupid reasons like Bollywood movies, Pakistan cricket teams, Valentine’s day, beef etc. No bullets are fired at them.
Citizens of Maibang town in Assam stops a train for a couple of hours to demand answers from the government and to remove Assam from Nagalim’s framework which is creating communal tensions because of an irresponsible statement by an RSS member. Police fire bullets and kill and injure innocent women, children and men.
Not my Republic Day!