AT LEAST two persons — one of them reported to be a Buddhist monk — were killed and 10 injured when police opened fire after a group of anti-dam activists tried to barge into the Tawang police station in Arunachal Pradesh on Monday demanding release of a monk who was arrested on April 28.
Official sources in Itanagar said the police had to open fire when the activists tried to force their way into the police station after a local court rejected the bail petition of Lama Lobsang Gyatso, a monk who was a leader of a local group opposed to setting up hydro-electric power projects in the state.
While prohibitory orders under Section 144 were promulgated in Tawang town, the Army also staged a flag march, sources said.
Lama Lobsang Gyatso was arrested on April 28 following complaints that he had posted comments against Guru Tulku Rinpoche, the spiritual head of Tawang Monastery, and questioned his nationality.
Gyatso also reportedly asked him not to indulge in politics related to hydel projects.
Chief Minister Kalikho Pul, who is currently in New Delhi, has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the firing. Pul also announced Rs 5 lakh ex-gratia to the family of those killed.
Local MP and Union Minister of State for Home, Kiren Rijiju, called up the Tawang deputy commissioner and SP and took stock of the situation. Rijiju suggested constituting a high level peace committee comprising representatives from all sections of society to initiate a dialogue in an effort to restore normalcy.