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Dollungmukh residents demand shifting of IAF bombing zone

Local people of Dollungmukh taking out a protest rally on Tuesday.
 ITANAGAR, June 12 - The people of Dollungmukh circle in Kamle district of Arunachal Pradesh bordering Assam today carried out a massive protest against the bombing zone of the Indian Air Force (IAF) at Dollungmukh area, “which is threatening the very existence of the life and property of the locals living in the vicinity due to the bombing exercises being carried out by the IAF’s fighter aircraft.”

Holding banners, placards and national flags, hundreds of slogan-shouting people of the area took out a peace march to the IAF’s aircraft firing range at Dollungmukh before staging a dharna at the local office of the IAF near the firing range in protest against the “indiscriminate bombing practices in the area by the IAF without caring for the human settlements”.

The villagers living adjacent to the bombing range have been demanding shifting of the zone fearing a threat to their lives and properties. The matter has been raised by the villagers on several occasions. The issue was taken up with Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during her visit to Itanagar on May 29 and during a hearing of the National Human Rights Commission in Itanagar on May 25.

Today’s protest was held after a resident of Ruyu village, Bini Todum – a retired jawan of the Sashashtra Seema Bal – suffered serious injuries during a routine bombing exercise involving a Sukhoi-30 fighter plane on June 8, following which the IAF ordered a court of inquiry, and the reported killing of six mithuns (Bos frontalis) in IAF bombings a few days back.

Todum, who sustained multiple fractures after being hit by the shrapnel, had to be evacuated to the Tomo Riba Institute of Health & Medical Sciences at Naharlagun after preliminary treatment at the NHPC-run dispensary at Gerukamukh.

The protesters included local villagers, former PR members, members of All Dollungmukh Area Students’ Union, Dollungmukh Area Welfare Forum, Dollungmukh Area Youth Association among others.

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