Assam bandh passes off peacefully, NHRC seeks reports

The 12-hour Assam bandh called by tribal organisations in Goalpara passed off peacefully on Saturday.

Updated: Feb 16, 2013, 23:55 PM IST

Guwahati: The 12-hour Assam bandh called by tribal organisations to protest against the death of 12 persons in police firing in Goalpara passed off peacefully on Saturday even as National Human Rights Commission sought reports from the Centre and state authorities on the poll violence.

The dawn-to-dusk bandh was total in the Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council (RHAC) areas of Goalpara and Kamrup Rural districts, besides Baksa, Kokrajhar and Chirang districts in the Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD) and in Morigaon district in central Assam, official sources said.

Shops and business establishments, besides educational institutions, remained closed in these places during the bandh called by Assam Sanmilita Janajatiya Aikya Mancha and supported by a number of organisations including All Assam Tribal Sangha.

The bandh also affected traffic in roads including the National Highways 37 and 51. All banks remained closed in these areas, while attendance in government offices were thin.

However, the bandh did not have much effect in the non-RHAC areas of Goalpara district. Counting of votes for panchayat polls continued at the polling centres, including at the Goalpara College.

At many places in Baksa and Kokrajhar in BTAD region, pickets were set up and protesters burnt tyres in the roads.

There have been no fresh incidents of violence during past 48 hours in Goalpara district. However, night curfew between 8 pm to 6 am will be in force in Mornoi and Krishnai police station areas.

As per data from the state government this evening, a total of 18,150 persons are currently lodged in 21 relief camps set up by the administration.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said the situation in trouble-torn Goalpara district was peaceful now and the displaced people would be rehabilitated soon.

"The situation in the Rabha Hasong area is now peaceful. A sense of security among the people has returned and the government will make all efforts for ensuring their security", he said.

The National Human Rights Commission has asked for reports from the Union Home Secretary, Assam Chief Secretary and DGP regarding last week`s violence in Goalpara

In Delhi, BJP President Rajnath Singh announced a team of four MPs which will visit Goalpara and submit a report to him

The team comprises Guwahati MP Bijaya Chakravarty, Rajya Sabha MPs Prakash Javadekar and Tarun Vijay, and Meerut MP Rajendra Agarwal. It will reach Assam tomorrow to study the situation in Goalpara area.

Taking suo motu cognisance of a media report, NHRC has asked the three officials to submit reports within four weeks, an official release said today.

In neighbouring Dhubri district, where three persons died in police firing yesterday, curfew was relaxed during day time at outlying areas of Hatsingimari subdivision. But at Hatsingimari town, indefinite curfew is continuing and counting of votes for panchayat polls is still suspended.

Dhubri SP Pradip Saloi said that a compensation of Rs three lakh to the next of kin of the three persons who died in the firing has been announced.

Those injured in the incident are to be provided Rs five thousand each.

Meanwhile, counting of votes for the panchayat polls continued for third consecutive day. Counting in many places, mainly in the Barak Valley districts, have been proceeding very slowly.

Till 7 pm, results of 369 seats of Zilla Parishad have been announced. Congress has won 251 seats.

The All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) has come a distant second with 62 Zilla Parishad seats, followed by 26 by Asom Gana Parishad, 11 by the BJP and 19 by others.

While Congress has emerged winner in most of the Zilla Parishads, the AIUDF has won Dhubri and Barpeta districts, while in Morigaon the verdict went for a hung Zilla Parishad with Congress and AIUDF going neck-by-neck.

In Goalpara also, Congress and AIUDF are running neck- and-neck so far.

Buoyed by the victory of the Congress in the panchayat polls, Gogoi said, "Separate schemes will be taken up for the welfare of landless and marginalised farmers after identifying the beneficiaries."

Commenting on the results so far, AIUDF President and Lok Sabha MP Badruddin Ajmal accused the government of "resorting to unfair means."

"If it had not been for the AIUDF, the opposition would have been decimated. If Assam turns into a one-party state, it would not be good for the future of democracy," he said.