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Minority body blames Gogoi for Assam ethnic violence

A Bodoland-based minority body today blamed Tarun Gogoi and the state government for not taking immediate steps to curb violence in some districts of lower Assam. State of unrest | Indefinite curfew imposed

india Updated: Jul 26, 2012 17:40 IST

A Bodoland-based minority body on Thursday blamed Tarun Gogoi and the state government for not taking immediate steps to curb violence in some districts of lower Assam.

Alauddin Ali, general secretary of Religious Minority Council of Bodoland Territorial Council said, "chief minister Tarun Gogoi was slow in reacting to the initial incidents of violence and this led to escalation."

He also demanded a probe by central agencies into the root cause of the current violence in the state.

"How did the violence unfold and who are the persons behind it? So far there has been no answer to this. We demand that the Assam government order a proper inquiry into this by some central agency, probably the CBI," Ali told reporters in Guwahati.

He said all communities, including the Bodos and the minorities, have been living in harmony in the region since ages.

"BTC was formed on the sacrifices made by Bodo people and the sympathy and support extended by non-Bodos," Ali said.

Ali also refuted the allegation made by certain quarters that some Bangladeshi elements were behind the violence.

He demanded an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to the next of kin of the deceased and Rs. 2 lakh for the injured.

"Besides, the state government and the BTC should take immediate steps to bring the displaced people back to their homes and provide compensation for the loss of property," Ali said.

Gogoi on Thursday arrived in Kokrajhar to review the situation in the riot-affected areas where curfew was relaxed for a few hours.

Scattered violence continued for the sixth day on Thursday in riot-torn lower Assam districts where one person was killed in police firing while four persons were injured in an attack by a group of persons in Baksa district.

The curfew in Kokrajhar has been relaxed but not in the three other districts - Dhubri, Chirang and Bongaigaon.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is likely to visit Assam's restive Kokrajhar and Chirang districts on Saturday, officials said on Thursday.

When asked about Prime Minister's visit, officials in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said: "Yes. It is still being planned."

Curfew had been relaxed in Kokrajhar district till 12 noon, while in Chirang district it has been relaxed from 12 noon to 5pm.

Kokrajhar district executive magistrate Bipul Saikia was injured in an attack by unidentified assailants and his vehicle damaged while he was on his way to visit a relief camp in Bhotgaon Kanchipara area of the district.

In Dhubri district, one person was killed on Wednesday night when the police fired to quell a mob, taking the death toll to 41, IGP (law and order) LR Bishnoi said.

Four persons were seriously injured when some persons opened fired at Mussolpur in Baksa district, neighbouring Chirang district.

Stray incidents of violence were reported from Kokrajhar district as well as Chirang, Dhubri and Baksa during the night.

The Army and the para-military forces were deployed in the area.

The chief minister, who arrived in Kokrajhar at 11.30am in a helicopter from Guwahati, is scheduled to review the situation in a meeting with senior police and civil administration officials at the Circuit House.

He is also scheduled to meet people displaced from their homes due to the conflict.

Nearly two lakh people are taking shelter in 150 relief camps while 11 persons are missing.

Train services, which came to a complete halt for two days, have resumed with three special trains - one each to New Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore - being run from Guwahati to take passengers who were stranded at different places along the route.

"Railway services have resumed fully. The Rajdhani Express, the North East Express and the Kamrup Express left Guwahati on time this morning," an official of the North East Frontier Railway said.

Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that additional doctors, nurses, mobile medical units and 15 ambulances along with medicine have been sent today to the violence-hit districts.

"We will ensure complete health care to all the affected and suffering people. We are quickly arranging for more doctors for the three severely affected districts of Kokrajhar, Dhubri and Chirang," he said.

Already a team of doctors from Guwahati Medical College was working in Kokrajhar and these are only additional deployment in view of more relief camps, he said.

"We will further deploy two male public health workers and two nurses in each of the relief camps," he said.

First Published: Jul 26, 2012 08:52 IST