Seven persons were killed and 15 injured in police firings on a mob at Lakhipur and its adjoining areas in Goalpara district on Wednesday.
Seven policemen were also injured in the attack. Goalpara district has been tense following the spate of violence.
Indefinite curfew was clamped in greater Lakhipur area and the army staged a flag march. Additional DGP (Law and Order) of Assam Police, D.K. Pathak, told HT that more forces were deployed in Goalpara district.
The SP of Goalpara district, Abhijit Bora, said that the non-Rabha people, mostly immigrant Muslims, were trying to enforce a 48-hour bandh beginning on Wednesday in some parts of the district. The bandh supporters blocked all major roads.
At 12.30 pm, when the police intervened, the agitators at Lakhipur area started pelting stones. The mob set ablaze a police vehicle, a public bus and eight private vehicles and looted several shops. Police resorted to lathi-charge and fired several rounds in the air to disperse the mob. The agitators attacked the police with sharp weapons.
“When the mob attacked the police, our men started firing. An attacker was killed on the spot,” said the SP.
Again at 3 pm, several hundred people gathered at the Bhalukdubi area near Lakhipur and torched a few shops. When the police arrived, the mob attacked the police. Police fired on the mob in which seven persons were injured.
Three of the five deceased were identified as Mohar Ali, Sohrab Ali and Haseb Ali.
Opposing the government decision against holding Panchayat elections in the Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council (RHAC) areas in south Kamrup and Goalpara district, the coordination committee of non-Rabha people (immigrant Muslims mostly), the ‘Ana Rabha Eikya Manch’ launched an agitation.
Rabha tribals in the RHAC, seeking an extension of the Sixth Schedule status to their areas, were protesting Panchayat elections in the autonomous council areas. Following the violence, the state government has decided to postpone the Panchayat elections in RHAC.