Road blockade hits life in Assam

Guwahati: Normal life in Assam was hit on Monday as trucks and other commercial vehicles went off the roads in response to a 12-hour “chakka jam” programme.

The “chakka jam” call was issued by the State unit of the All-India Road Transport Workers’ Federation to protest the killing of a truck driver and a helper at Lokhra Chariali here on Thursday night, allegedly by a Personal Security Officer (PSO) of the Superintendent of Police (CID).

Even as the protest was on, another incident of alleged police highhandedness was reported. A 64-year-old resident of Dhola, under the Mangaldoi sub-division in northern Assam’s Darrang district, was allegedly beaten to death by the police on Saturday night after he expressed inability to pay the money they demanded to close a petty crime case.

The government announced an ex gratia of Rs.3 lakh to next of kin of all the three victims.

Environment and Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain informed the Assembly that the government had suspended SP (CID) Mridualananda Sarma and arrested PSO Godadhor Rai in connection with the killing of the truck driver and helper. The government had also ordered a probe by Principal Secretary, Transport, Alok Kumar.

Police said Rai fired 30 rounds from his AK-47 rifle killing on the spot the driver hailing from Tripura. The helper hailing from Meghalaya died at the hospital.

The PSO chased the truck on a motorbike after it hit the SP (CID)’s vehicle near the National Games village here. He later surrendered at the Basistha police station and was arrested.