22 injured as protestors set ablaze a bus
At least 22 people were injured, three of them critically, in Assam on Saturday when a group of tribal student protestors set ablaze the bus they were travelling in, officials said.
About 50 protestors of the All Koch Rajbonshi Students' Union (AKRSU) stopped the crowded bus near Golokgang in Dhubri district, about 300 km west of Guwahati, and set it on fire, a police spokesman said.
"The protestors locked the door and poured petrol before setting it on fire with about 50 passengers inside," Dhubri district police chief Parthasarathi Mahanta told IANS by telephone.
The bus was on its way from Cooch Behar in West Bengal to Dhubri. The incident took place at around 1 a.m. Saturday.
"Of the 22 injured, three are stated to be serious. We have shifted all the injured to hospitals," the police chief said.
"We have arrested 14 protestors for their involvement in the attack," he added.
The AKRSU is an influential students' group and have been demanding a separate Kamatapur homeland to be carved out of western Assam and northern parts of West Bengal.
The group is currently resorting to a 400-hour National Highway blockade that entered its 11th day Saturday. The strike has affected road communication in most parts of western Assam, especially the highway linking West Bengal to the state.
Meanwhile, more than 3,000 AKSRU protestors staged demonstrations Saturday on a highway along the Assam-West Bengal border. Authorities have rushed additional police and paramilitary forces to the area to quell the protests.
"The situation is charged and we are trying to defuse the situation," Mahanta said.