Economic blockade withdrawn after administration interferes

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Silchar, Oct 15 (UNI) The economic blockade, which started at 0500 hrs today on National Highway 44, turned violent as agitators damaged at least eight vehicles at Malidahar near Assam-Meghalaya border.

The damaged vehicles included five long-distance super buses.

Two persons, including a passenger of a bus, were injured, police said.

The damage was caused after agitators started throwing boulders from the hilltop targeting vehicles on the road.

In all 41 picketers were arrested, the police said.

The blockade was called by the Barak Valley Tribal Rights Protection Front (BVTRPF), an umbrella organisation of Barak Valley Khasi Jaintia Welfare Association, Assam Rongmei Naga Students' Union and Assam Dimasa Students' Union.

A team of Assam police and civil officials, comprising two Additional Deputy Commissioners and two Additional SPs of Cachar and Karimganj districts, rushed to the area.

They invited the members of the BVTRPF at a meeting at Malidahar.

The agitators after detailed discussion agreed to withdraw the blockade with effect from 1330 hrs today in view of the present festive season.

However, they warned of starting the agitation from the second week of November again when the festive season would be over if the administration failed to fulfil their demands.

The BVTRPF had been demanding arrest of Karimganj district forest beat officer Mussarraf Hussain, transfer of Karimganj divisional forest officer Salman Uddin Chaudhary, compensation for alleged damage of 19 dykes of irrigation system by the said forest officials in Karimganj forest belt in July, which were used for cultivation of betel-leaf by the Khasi tribes, and appointment of tribal unemployed youths in different reserved posts of Assam government departments.

UNI

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