Refugees must be protected: Sonia | india | Hindustan Times
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Refugees must be protected: Sonia

india Updated: Aug 14, 2012 01:39 IST
HT Correspondent

UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi has sought adequate security for about 2.4 lakh people displaced by the Bodo-Muslim communal violence in western Assam to enable them to return home.

At least 77 people have died in clashes between the two communities since violence broke out on July 20.

She also sought decongestion of the relief camps and removal of barricades so that she could interact more closely with people living in the camps.

Accompanied by Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi, Gandhi toured the riot-hit areas on Monday. She visited two Bodo tribal camps in Kokrajhar district and four migrant Muslim camps in Dhubri district.

“People of both communities want to go back home but fear is still lurking in their minds. They want security, and I have asked the home minister (Shinde) and the chief minister (Gogoi) to take necessary steps,” the UPA chairperson said.

She, however, gave Gogoi a clean chit, saying his government handled the crisis well. “I have asked the government to ensure there is no recurrence of violence,” she said.

Gandhi gave security officials a tough time breaking barricades to let her speak with camp inmates about their access to food, healthcare and other facilities. Finding some camps overcrowded, she asked officials to ensure more space for inmates and better supply of baby food.

Following the flare-up last month, the state government had set up 397 relief camps for about 4 lakh Bodos and Muslims. By the first week of August, 1.6 lakh people returned home and some 150 relief camps were shut down, the government claimed.