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One killed in police firing as communal clashes rock Assam’s Hailakandi

Clashes had broken out Friday between members of two communities when some people protested against prayers being held on a road in front of a mosque.

india Updated: May 11, 2019 10:42 IST
Sadiq Naqvi
Sadiq Naqvi
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
A scene outside a vandalised shop after  clashes broke out between two communities, in Hailakandi town of Assam, Friday, May 10.
A scene outside a vandalised shop after clashes broke out between two communities, in Hailakandi town of Assam, Friday, May 10.(PTI)
         

A young man who was allegedly injured when police fired to break up a communal clash in southern Assam’s Hailakandi, succumbed to his injuries on Friday evening at Silchar Medical College Hospital (SMCH). the hospital’s Superintendent said.

“Ten people with bullet injuries were brought in. One of them succumbed to his injuries,” the Superintendent of Silchar Medical College and Hospital said Saturday. The person who died had a bullet injury in his abdomen, he said.

“Some of the others who have bullet wounds have been hit in the upper part of their bodies, below the neck while others have been hit on the legs,” he said.

Akbar Ali, the incharge of the Ghungoor Police outpost near the Silchar Medical College and Hospital also said one man succumbed to bullet injuries.

Clashes had broken out Friday between members of two communities when some people protested against prayers being held on a road in front of a mosque, officials said.

Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has ordered an inquiry into the incident by additional chief secretary Rajiv Bora and directed the administration to take strict action to quell violence. Sonowal also ordered Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order), Mukesh Agrawal to visit Hailakandi.

In a statement, Sonowal called on the people to maintain peace and harmony and promised strong action against perpetrators.

The district administration has sought the Army’s help to maintain peace.

Curfew was imposed in the town shortly after the clashes. “Following emergency like situation curfew has been imposed by the district administration…” a statement by the district administration said. Later in the evening, the curfew was extended to the entire district ‪till 7 pm May 12.‬

Hailakandi’s Superintendent of Police Mohneesh Mishra confirmed the police firing at the mob.

“We had no option but to open fire. The mob was extremely violent. The stone pelting was unrelenting and it was a grave danger to the security of the personnel. First we fired in the air and then we were forced to fire at them,” he said.

Ainul Haq Chaudhary, an official of the Assam Police posted at the SK Roy Civil Hospital in Hailakandi said 19 people injured in the clashes including eight with bullet injuries were brought to the hospital. He said eight people were referred to the Silchar Medical College and Hospital, 35 km away.

There was no estimate of the total number of people injured as officials claimed they were busy trying to bring the situation under control after clashes which erupted during the Friday prayers.

When asked for the total number of injured in the clashes, Deputy Commissioner Kerthi Jalli refused to comment. “I have every right to say I do not want to comment,” she said.

Misbah ul Alam Laskar, a local who was present at the mosque said the police opened fire on people and claimed that those who had come to offer prayers were attacked unprovoked by members of another community.

Anwar Hussain Laskar, MLA from Hailakandi blamed the police. “If it were not for police inaction this would not have happened. They did not take timely action,” he said adding “the police station is merely 100 metres from the mosque.”

First Published: May 11, 2019 10:27 IST

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