Protests greet Chinese envoy’s visit to Assam war cemetery over dam on Bramhaputra tributary

Local organisations were protesting the construction of big dams on the Yarlung Tsangpo river in China that forms the Bramhaputra in Assam.

india Updated: Apr 15, 2017 21:41 IST
Rahul Karmakar
Rahul Karmakar
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
Assam,Bramhaputra,Chinese war cemetery
Chinese ambassador to India, Luo Zhaohui at the inauguration of the Chinese visa application service centre in New Delhi in February 2017.(PTI File Photo)

Protests greeted Luo Zhaohui, China’s ambassador to India, when he visited a Chinese war cemetery in eastern Assam’s Tinsukia district on Saturday.

Luo, on a two-day official visit to Assam, was accompanied by his wife, a Xinhua reporter and five members of the Chinese mission in Delhi.

Officials in Tinsukia district said local organisations staged silent protests as Luo and his team visited the World War II cemetery at Lekhapani.

“As the diplomatic team was offering prayers in memory of Chinese soldiers buried in the cemetery, members of some NGOs protested the construction of big dams (on the Yarlung Tsangpo river in China),” Tinsukia superintendent of police, Mugdhajyoti Mahanta said.

Yarlung Tsangpo is one of three rivers that form the Brahmaputra in Assam.

Mahanta said the team would leave for Delhi from Dibrugarh on Sunday after spending the night in Tinsukia.

Chinese general Chiang Kai-shek had during 1942-45 placed many of his soldiers under American General Joseph Stilwell who oversaw the carving out of a 1,736 km road from Ledo in Assam to Kunming in Yunnan province of China.

The road, used only once during the war, was built to transport supplies and reinforcements to China for battling the Japanese army.

A Guwahati-based NGO had earlier alleged that the Chinese diplomats had planned the tour on the advice of Paresh Baruah, the elusive military chief of United Liberation Front of Assam-Independent believed to be operating from the China-Myanmar border

The motive of the team was to study the Brahmaputra following Delhi’s decision to dredge the 841km-stretch of the river across Assam.

First Published: Apr 15, 2017 21:39 IST