Guwahati turned tense on Wednesday after three people, including a nine-year-old, were killed in clashes between farmers and police. The farmers were protesting their eviction from hills and wetland areas.
More than 50 people, including Guwahati senior superintendent of police Deepak Choudhury, were injured after authorities issued shoot-at-sight orders, when a mob attacked pedestrians and vehicles, the police said.
Led by the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, around 10,000 peasants gathered at Dispur Last Gate demanding an end to the eviction drive.
After the meeting, they marched towards the state secretariat. When the police stopped the mob from entering the secretariat, they turned violent.
A police gypsy, two school buses, 13 buses, an ambulance and three private vehicles were set on fire by the irate mob.
“Protesters threw stones at security personnel. Our men fired teargas canisters and resorted to baton charge to control the mob,” said Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta, inspector general of police, law and order.
The police also fired in the air to disperse the unruly mob. But as the crowd continued to pour in, the police opened fire on the protesters and Siba Sarma, 55, and Rubul Ali, 9, were killed on the spot. Biren Kalita, 56, succumbed to his injuries at a hospital later.
“Our protest against the undemocratic eviction of indigenous people from forest areas was peaceful. It was because of police action that a clash broke out,” said Akhil Gogoi, secretary of the farmers’ group.
The protest was withdrawn after the administration announced that the principal secretaries of revenue, forest and tribal welfare would meet the farmers on June 28.
Chief minister Tarun Gogoi announced a committee to look into the grievances of the aggrieved people.
The farmers have demanded a meeting with the chief minister on the issue by July 21.