After visiting some relief camps in violence-hit areas of lower Assam on Monday, home minister P Chidambaram dismissed allegations by some political groups that the massacres in Kokrajhar, Chirang and Dhubri districts were the result of an intelligence failure.
“The conflict was triggered by two incidents. I don’t think there was any intelligence failure,” said Chidambaram. He said the two incidents of shooting by miscreants in Kokrajhar on July 6 and July 19 triggered the conflict between the Bodo and Muslim communities in Kokrajhar and Chirang districts.
Chidambaram, however, admitted that there were not enough security forces in the affected districts in the initial stages but once reinforcements arrived, the situation began improving.
“No one expected that the conflagration would spread so fast. Only two districts of the BTC (Bodoland Territorial Council) were affected and at the same time other parts of BTC were normal,” he said.
“It is a matter of great regret and sadness that violence erupted but in the last 72 hours no fresh violence has taken place and the government of Assam has taken control of the situation,” Chidambaram added.
On tensions between the two communities in the three affected districts, the home minister said, “Ours is a pluralistic society. We must learn to live together.” He said that at present, the state government’s main concern is to provide relief for people taking shelter in camps and work for rehabilitation of those affected by the violence.
“The state government has drawn up a detailed plan to provide security to people in violence-affected villages to be implemented from tomorrow,” Chidambaram said. During his visit to two relief camps in Kokrajhar and Chirang, many people in the camps urged him to provide security and proper rehabilitation.
Later, Chidambaram reviewed the law and order situation with chief minister Tarun Gogoi and top officials in the administration, intelligence services and paramilitary forces.
He is scheduled to visit Muslim-majority Dhubri district on Tuesday.
CM Gogoi asked officials to expedite rehabilitation measures and set a 15-day deadline for displaced people to return to their respective villages.