On the sixth day of Assam’s Bodo-Muslim ethnic violence, the death toll rose to 40 on Wednesday and the number of people packed into relief camps reached 180,000 even as train services were resumed in the disturbed areas.
Villagers flee their homes at Dujabari village in Kokrajhar district, about 230 kms from Guwahati, the capital city of the northeastern state of Assam. AFP Photo
Early on Wednesday, rioters fired on a group of people, killing three. Apart from this, three bodies were found in Chirang district and two in Kokrajhar.
However, in Chirang no fresh outbreak of violence was reported through the day, showing signs of some improvement in the law and order situation.
“No fresh incident of violence occurred since the morning. One column (70-90 soldiers) of the army staged a flag march in some sensitive areas in Chirang,” said superintendent of police Kumar Sanjib Krishna.
A woman affected by the recent ethnic clashes at a relief camp set up in Kokrajhar district. PTI Photo
In Kokrajhar, curfew was relaxed for four hours – from 8 am to noon.
Amid rumours that Bangladeshi agencies had a hand in the clashes, the Centre ruled out the possibility.
“The international border is sealed. It is simply impossible for any organised group crossing over to India from across the border,” home secretary RK Singh said in New Delhi.
The deployment of the army, which staged a flag march in trouble-torn areas of Kokrajhar and non-Bodo areas, apart from Chirang, led to the resumption of train services, bringing relief to about 35,000 stranded passengers.
Joint secretary (in charge of the home ministry’s northeast affairs) Sambhu Singh, said in Kokrajhar, “Two companies of the Railway Protection Special Force will be deployed in the affected areas.”
With PTI inputs