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Lawyer, artist arrested for ‘defacing’ govt mural in Arunachal with anti-dam message

Itanagar-based advocate E Mili and Assam-based graffiti artist Nilim Mahanta were booked under the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.

Written by Tora Agarwala | New Delhi |
Updated: March 28, 2022 1:42:47 pm
arunachal pradesh, govt mural, Arunachal court bails lawyer, artist, E Mili, Nilim Mahanta, no more dams graffiti, Wall of Harmony project, itanagar news, north east news, arunachal newsThe duo were booked for allegedly drawing a resistance logo along with the words “no more dams” over a mural of a dam on the recently-created 'Wall of Harmony' art project celebrating 50 years of Arunachal Pradesh's statehood.

The Arunachal Pradesh Police on Sunday arrested two people — a lawyer and an artist — in connection with an alleged defacement of a mural on the boundary wall of the state civil secretariat in Itanagar.

Itanagar-based advocate E Mili and Assam-based graffiti artist Nilim Mahanta were booked under the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984, for allegedly drawing a resistance logo along with the words “no more dams” over a mural of a dam on the recently-created ‘Wall of Harmony’ art project celebrating 50 years of Arunachal Pradesh’s statehood.

Itanagar Capital Region SP Jimmy Chiram said that the duo was in police custody and would be produced in court within 24 hours. “Many artists worked on the wall of harmony, it is government property and these boys painted over it,” said Chiram, adding that they had been booked under a non-bailable section of the law. Chiram said that Mahanta had been “hired” by the advocate.

Mahanta, a resident of north Assam’s Lakhimpur district, is a popular graffiti artist and illustrator whose creations adorn several public landmarks in Assam.

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Arunachal Pradesh is the site of several contentious hydroelectric projects which have been opposed by several sections of the state’s civil society over the years.

The mural of the dam, among other motifs, was painted as a symbol of infrastructure development in the state as part of the ‘Wall of Harmony’ project.

The project was recently completed by 12 young painters and artists to “capture the state’s historical journey over fifty years” by showcasing its diversity and heritage.

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