The Nagaland government on Wednesday stated that blocking national highways and public roads is a punishable offence.
Home Commissioner of Nagaland government, Abhijit Sinha, through an Office Memorandum (OM) stated that certain individuals, organizations and associations are calling for bandhs, strikes, agitations involving blocking of national highways and public roads in the state as a mode of agitation to press for their grievances.
In this regard, he stated that blocking national highways and public roads is a punishable offence under relevant sections of National Highway Act 1956, the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act 1984 and Indian Penal Code.
Further, in various judgments of the Supreme Court and High Courts, it has also been held that bandhs and road blockades are illegal and unconstitutional and organisers must be prosecuted, the OM further stated.
The Office Memorandum further stated that in some cases as a part of agitation to press for certain local demands, calls are given for disturbing celebrations of National Days or forcefully preventing law abiding citizens from participating in such celebrations and functions.
"It may be stated here that any forceful act with intent to disturb the celebrations of the National Days is illegal and a serious offence and the culprits are liable to be prosecuted under relevant sections of law," it added.
According to the OM, any purported grievances for any agitation should be brought to the notice of, and pursued with the concerned government authority for appropriate action.
Any public gathering, meant to express views/grievances or otherwise, without prior permission of the competent district authorities is illegal, it also said.
Further, district authorities are also empowered under law to firmly deal with those indulging in actions which violate the law or create law and order problem or disturb the existing atmosphere of peace and public tranquility or cause nuisance and obstruction to general public, the memorandum added.
The Office Memorandum of the Home department then stated that the district administration and police officials should appropriately sensitize the organizations, groups concerned which have any pending grievance or have given a call for disruptive agitation.
Further, in case of any violations as mentioned above on the part of any individual/group/association, the authorities concerned should initiate appropriate action under the relevant provisions of Indian Penal Code, the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act 1984, the National Highway Act 1956 and such other appropriate Laws depending upon the violations, disruptions, disturbances caused, the Office Memorandum added.