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Sat, 24 Aug 2019

Northeast Today

Police use force to disperse student protestors in Kohima

Police use force to disperse student protestors in Kohima
June 05
09:40 2019

NET Bureau

The hunger strike protest called by the All Nagaland College Students’ Union (ANCSU) turned ugly after police lathi-charged, sprayed water cannons and also fired tear gas shells to disperse the protestors, on Tuesday  near the Civil Secretariat, Kohima.

In the melee the ANCSU president Katho Awomi along with his two other colleagues including another student representative were taken for preventive detention.

Since the ANCSU office bearers and the agitators were adamant against leaving the venue, for the second time, police took offensive actions and also chased the protestor till the Sonorü river. In retaliation against students who pelted stones, police then resorted to firing tear gas shells.

One of the police officer informed that police had to fire tear gas shells against stone pelting where some police personnel sustained minor injuries.

Later, after returning in the late afternoon, ANCUS president Khato Awomi told students that if the police had the guts to detain the students, then they should also apply the same to the wrong doers (department officials).

Awomi also vowed that ANCSU will continue to stage the hunger strike protest outside the Union office till their demands were fulfilled.

Earlier in the morning, when the district administration refused to grant permission to ANCSU to hold the protest, police initially refrained ANCSU volunteers who were on their way to the directorate technical education to stage the hunger strike.

According to Awomi, ANCSU did not invite any student volunteers for the Tuesday hunger strike protest but many students arrived from various colleges to join the protest.

Later it was decided to hold the protest outside the civil secretariat. Reacting against the HTE minister’s statement that “lost money was recovered” Awomi said if it was so then the Director HTE should reveal the names of those involved in the loan scam.

He said students did not want a minister who defended corrupt officers and that the department should set up separate cell for scholarship. It may be recalled that the minister HTE had informed through a press conference on June 3, that the department will set up separate cell for scholarship.

Awomi also said that all the 110 posts of assistant professor should be requisitioned to NPSC and no backdoor appointment should be made as it would leave many qualified “jobless”.

He reiterated that unless the demand of ANCSU were fulfilled, it will not back off neither will withdraw its demand and cautioned that government will be responsible for any causalities.

Meanwhile when asked the preventive detention, Awomi clarified that none of them were harassed during the time of detention.

Awomi said some of the student volunteers also sustained injuries and warned that state government would be held responsible if anything happens to the student community.

Meanwhile, ANCSU late Tuesday evening informed that the union would continue its indefinite hungry strike till their charter of demands were fulfilled and positive response by the state government.

During the protest, ANCSU vice president Benjong Longchar and ANCSU general secretary Vimeyiekho Vitso warned that if any untoward incident takes place, the state government would be held responsible.

Condemning the police action against ANCSU volunteers, the union alleged that the police force violated their fundamental right as per Article 19 of Indian constitution.

ANCSU further demanded to know from the state government and the concern department as to how long will it take to resolve the issue.

When asked why the union cannot wait for the probe to bring out facts on the issue, ANCSU stated that the students had waited for over eight months and that it cannot allow students to be fooled any longer.

When asked about the allegations of demanding Rs. 15 lakhs from the Technical Education director, ANCSU refuted the allegations and demanded for any evidence or to come out publicly.

On being asked if the union supported the proposed bandh called by its unit in Dimapur on June 5, ANCSU said the union cannot stop if any of its unit come out in support of the parent body.

ANCSU further pointed out that the RTI reply on the issue was not satisfactory.

Stir held without permission: CS
Reacting to the use of force by police to disperse the protesting ANCSU students in Kohima Tuesday, Nagaland chief secretary (CS) pointed out that the agitation did not have clearance  as required under laid down rules, from the district administration and police.
In addition, CS said the hunger strike was undertaken without precautionary measures such as water tankers, doctors, ambulance etc but added it was fortunate that no untoward incident took place.
CS said despite all these, the administration and police exercised utmost restraint and were prepared to allow peaceful demonstration. However, he said after the gathering, the protestors were incited and breached the peace after which the authorities had to step in to ensure peace and prevent injury.
CS said some of the student leaders taken on preventive detention were later released and student protestors made to disperse in  a peaceful manner.
The CS also assured the student community and citizens that the state government had taken every possible measure to ensure that scholarship was not withheld nor misappropriated. He added that the present government has instead, ensured time release of scholarships in a most transparent manner and for which details were uploaded on the website.
The CS also informed that the state government took the issue of scholarship very seriously over allegations of misuse for the period 2014 to 2016 as per CAG report . He said an independent inquiry is being held under the Nagaland Lok Ayukta to ascertain facts and to deal with those responsible for misappropriation or misuse.
Since the government was seized of the matter, the CS also cautioned that no one will be allowed to hold the government to ransom nor governance disturbed  through undemocratic means while assuring those guilty will be awarded sternest punishment.
Source: Nagaland Post
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