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Assam CM faces public anger over police firing

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi faced angry protesters wearing black badges who shouted slogans against his government.

india Updated: Feb 17, 2006 22:24 IST

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Friday faced angry protesters wearing black badges who shouted slogans against his government when he visited the site of last week's police firing in which nine people were killed.

Gogoi, along with senior police and civil officials, had visited Kakopathar in Tinsukia district.

Witnesses said scores of women and villagers wearing black badges booed Gogoi as he tried to address a meeting.

"Nobody was prepared to listen to the chief minister as his government was responsible for the death of nine people in police firing as well as a person killed in Army custody," Guna Bora, a local youth, said over telephone from Kakopathar.

The villagers were angry as Gogoi came to visit the spot exactly a week after the incident.

The clash in eastern Assam, during which police opened fire on thousands of protesters, erupted after local villager Ajit Mahanta was picked up by the army on suspicion of having links with separatist rebels.

Mahanta allegedly died in Army custody a day later on February 6.

Gogoi met relatives of some of the people killed in the police firing and assured them of financial help and government jobs.

After returning from Kakopathar, Gogoi was to address a press conference at Tinsukia but was forced to cancel it as journalists boycotted the event following the assault of two scribes by policemen.

One of the journalists was seriously injured and later admitted to a hospital in Tinsukia.

"It is a shame for the chief minister to have visited Kakopathar after one week. And even during his visit, we heard of police attacking unarmed people including journalists without any provocation," said Dilip Saikia, leader of the opposition Asom Gana Parishad.

First Published: Feb 17, 2006 22:24 IST