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Tawang tense after protest against hydro-electric projects
 

From our Correspondent

ITANAGAR, Dec 25: The situation remained grim at Tawang as thousands of people, mostly monks and villagers led by Save Mon Region Federation (SMRF), defied the 144 CrPC and took out a rally from Tawang Monastery to Old market on Monday in protest against construction of dams.

With the voice against construction of hydro-power projects in the district growing louder and louder, mystic Tawang is apparently turning into a battlefield of anti-dam activists.

The security personnel resorted to lathicharge and lobbed couple of tear gases to disperse the mob a couple of days ago. It is reported that many protesters, including few security personnel, were injured during the mob clash. A monk, who received grievous injuries, was later shifted to the district hospital, sources added.

Sources informed that the situation turned ugly when an angry mob resorted to clashes with security personnel by pelting stones at them at Old market, demanding immediate release of seven detained activists, including SMRF general secretary Lobsang Gyatso, who were arrested on December 21 for allegedly ransacking the NHPC office.

The anti-dam protesters expressed resentment over the signing of more than 140 MoUs/MoAs on hydro-power projects by the State Government with power developers. Fifteen projects were signed with numerous private power developers in Tawang district, the protesters said. Angry protesters alleged that no proper consent was sought from the villagers and native people for construction of the hydro-electric projects.

Construction of huge projects in Tawang will not only cause ecological imbalance but also pose a serious threat to environment and its scenic beauty. Tawang, surrounded by snow covered Himalayan mountains, houses many endangered species like red Panda and Macau and many other rare Himalayan species and construction of mega power projects will bring such rare animals to the verge of extinction, the dam protesters feel.

During May, the Buddhist monks reportedly asked the Union Power Minister to put a moratorium on hydro-electric projects in Tawang district.

Earlier on April 4 this year, thousands of Tawang people took out a mega public rally against construction of power projects.

       
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