GUWAHATI: The gambling of dice during Diwali is common in parts of the Northeast. So, when a District Magistrate (DM) in Arunachal Pradesh did not grant permission for it to a market welfare association in state capital Itanagar, it enforced the closure of shops in the town on Saturday and also set a three-day deadline demanding his transfer.
The Papum Pare (capital) district authorities on Friday dismantled some structures, which were erected allegedly for the purpose of gambling of dice during Diwali, in Itanagar.
The DM, SK Singh, told Express that the association was venting its ire against him as he did not grant permission for it.
“It’s an issue of gambling. On Friday, we received information that the Itanagar Market Welfare Association was illegally issuing permits to individuals to organize the gambling of dice in public
places. They tried to portray market and public areas as their property. So, the police demolished the structures this (Saturday) morning,” he said.
“Traditionally, people have played dice in Itanagar and elsewhere during Diwali. But in 2012, the state government enacted a law that prohibited gambling in the whole of the state. That’s the reason
why permission was not granted since. The association wants to run a parallel government which we cannot allow because the rule of law has to be followed,” Singh added.
But the market association rubbished his charges.
“The structures were erected to sell sweets. Diwali is a big Indian festival and we all celebrate it. Also, we’re not a government body and therefore, the question of issuing permits for gambling does
not arise. If we had issued any, that would have gone viral on the social media,” the association chairman Yumlan Achung asserted.
He said the commercial establishments would remain closed for three days. “We want the DM to go as he is acting against the interests of the people. If he is not transferred out by Monday, the shops could remain closed for a longer period,” he warned.