Police detains two leaders of anti-Tibetan group in Arunachal for extortion

DHARAMSALA, July 27: Two leaders of the self-styled group, ‘The Students’ United Movement of All Arunachal’(SUMAA) who have been protesting against Tibetans in Arunachal Pradesh were detained by the police for their involvement in extortion.

The deputy commissioner of the West Kameng has issued the detention order of SUMAA’s General Secretary Suraj Ligu and Convenor Tarh Rekam under the Arunachal Pradesh Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 2014 after receiving multiple complaints of extortion from the traders and government officials, the Arunachal Times reported.

“The extortion attempts were in connection with the SUMAA activities in Bomdila. A case of attempt to extortion has been registered at the Naharlagun police station and the police are on the lookout for other accused persons as well,” Capital Complex Superintendent of Police (SP) M Harsha Vardhan was quoted as saying in the report.

The SP has further stated in the report that the police have clear evidence of  SUMAA leader’s direct involvement in extortion in terms of CCTV footage, calls, etc.

The two detained leaders were reportedly taken to the capital complex deputy commissioner’s office for production before the district magistrate and were later remanded to judicial custody and sent to the district jail in Jully.

Later, several members of the fringe student group reportedly surrounded the district jail for few hours and issued threats against some officials on duty.

The Capital SP has said in the report that they have already begun the process of identifying those protesting outside the jail and further assured that they would also be arrested.

“I appeal to all concerned to not tolerate extortion and report to us if they face any such issue. We will definitely take action,” the SP has said.

The duo was said to be detained following a July 23 order issued by the West Kameng deputy commissioner which noted that “Ligu and Rekam, along with 15 other SUMAA members were allegedly “engaged in intimidating residents and shopkeepers in Bomdila market, publicly threatening to damage private properties, extorting money, illegally picking items from shops, forcefully lifting petrol from fuel stations, resulting in creating feelings of insecurity and fear in general public and shut down of markets thereby hindering essential supplies and daily items.”

Ligu and Rekam were also “involved in gherao of the Bomdila police station, mental torture, intimidation and harassment of various shopkeepers in Bomdila market,” the report added.

However, in spite of the police holding clear evidence of the SUMAA leader’s direct involvement in extortion, SUMAA president Tagru Tame has claimed that they did not intimidate the traders in Bomdila and that the traders had, in fact, assured them of their support in the drive against Tibetan refugees.

The president of the self-styled group further condemned the Arunachal Pradesh state government and stated in the report that the two SUMAA members were detained under trumped-up charges and the group will press on with their protest that he calls is in the interest of the indigenous people of the state.

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