Amid mounting concerns that “external” forces were stoking the fire that has already claimed 73 lives and rendered nearly four lakh homeless in the last three weeks, the Centre ordered a CBI probe into the continuing ethnic violence in Assam.
Meanwhile, the BJP -- which has been blaming the state government’s soft approach towards illegal immigrants from Bangladesh for the violence – will move an adjournment motion in Parliament on Wednesday. This will coincide with a protest at Jantar Mantar led by former deputy prime minister LK Advani and BJP president Nitin Gadkari.
On Tuesday, chief minister Tarun Gogoi asked for the CBI probe, hours after a fresh round of violence late on Monday night in Ranighuli near the Kokrajhar-Dhubri district border.
“In the last 48 hours, more bodies have been found in the three affected districts. With the killing of four more persons on Monday night, the death toll has increased to 73,” the CM said.
Kokrajhar and Chirang districts fall under the Bodoland Territorial Council set up under a decade-old peace deal with Bodo insurgents.
The present violence was triggered on May 29 when a minority organisation called a bandh, which led to the killing of two Bodo youths in Kokrajhar on July 6.
Gogoi confirmed that external forces too had been at play but did not identify them. A government official in Delhi said Gogoi must have been referring to intelligence reports pointing fingers at opposition groups in Bangladesh linked to extremists.
A team of CBI and home ministry officials will reach Guwahati on Thursday to decide the sensitive cases that the CBI should take over.
In the worst-affected Kokrajhar district, three persons were killed and two others injured when some persons opened fire on a group of people at Ranibuli village late Monday night, while one more body was found on Tuesday in neighbouring Chirang district, IGP (law and order) L R Bishnoi said.
Indefinite curfew has been reimposed in Kokrajhar, while round-the-clock curfew continued in Chirang.
The Army continued flag marches in the morning in Kokrajhar, Chirang and Dhubri districts.