One person was killed and three others injured when police opened fire to disperse agitated Muslim BPL (below poverty line) card seekers at the office of the Block Development Officer at Dhula in north-central Assam's Darrang district on Saturday afternoon. Stone-pelting by the mob left 11 policemen injured too.
Trouble began soon after some 10,000 people had assembled at the BDO office on Saturday morning to collect BPL cards for availing rice at Rs 6 per kilo under the Anna Suraksha Yojana.
“Some miscreants among the crowd attacked our men with bamboo sticks while others began pelting stones. We tried softer methods to control the crowd, but there was no alternative to opening fire to disperse them," said district police chief T.P. Singh. He added that 11 policemen were injured in the melee.
One of the villagers, identified as Ghaziur Rehman, was killed on the spot after the firing while three others -- Rahim Ali, Jainal Abedin and Kajab Ali -- have been battling for their lives at the Mangaldoi Civil Hospital. Mangaldoi is the headquarters of Darrang district.
Pressure from various minority groups -- Dhula is dominated by alleged Bangladehi migrants -- later forced the district authorities to announce a magisterial inquiry into the firing incident.