The violence in Assam is spreading. The clash between Bodos and immigrant Muslims, which had started in Kokrajhar and spread to Chirang, took over the neighbouring Dhubri district on Monday.
Dhubri, in fact, is central to this clash between Bodos and immigrant Muslims over land. Over the last five years, the Muslims from Dhubri have migrated to Kokrajhar in huge numbers, raising the hackles of Kokrajhar residents.
On Monday, curfew had to be clamped in Dhubri as violence erupted during the 12-hour BTAD (Bodoland Territorial Area Districts) and Dhubri district bandh called by the All Bodoland Minority Students Union (ABMSU) and All Assam Minority Students Union (AAMSU).
At Golokganj market, police resorted to lathicharge and blank fires after a clash broke out between AAMSU activists and shop owners. At Gauripur, AAMSU activists set ablaze 35 houses along with the office of Bodoland People’s Front. The CRPF resorted to blank fire, in which three were injured.
Bandh supporters even attacked two ambulances and police vehicles at Alamganj. Two policemen were injured. At Bidyapur in Dhubri town, they torched a hostel of Bodo youths.
In Kokrajhar, meanwhile, two more bodies were recovered from the Gauranga river, taking the death toll to 19. Sporadic incidents of violence were reported as well. Indefinite curfew has been clamped and shoot-at sight orders given, said SN Singh, IGP of BTAD.
“We have already deployed nine additional companies. Nine more will be deployed,” said Singh. No major incident of violence, however, took place in BTAD areas.
Two ministers, Rockybul Hussain and Najrul Islam, visited Kokrajhar and Chirang districts and held discussions with students’ bodies of both Bodo tribal and immigrant Muslim communities. Following the discussions, the ABMSU withdrew its bandh call for BTAD.