New Delhi: Delay in deployment of Army troops in violence-hit areas of Assam led to spread of the clashes between Bodos and minority immigrants there, officials said on Friday.
The Deputy Commissioners of Kokrajhar and Chirang districts, the worst-hit by the violence, had requested the local Army units on July 23 for deployment of army personnel.
However, the local Army commanders did not accept the request saying they need an order from the Ministry of Defence, after which Assam Chief Secretary Naba Kumar Das sent separate letters to Union Home Secretary RK Singh and Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma, they said.
Singh also spoke to Sharma and requested him to ensure deployment of Army troops in violence-hit areas.
"Finally, the troops were deployed two days later--on July 25. Had the Army personnel been deployed earlier, many lives could have been saved," an official said.
Army troops could have reached the trouble spots within three to four hours as two major Army stations are located within a distance of 150 kms from both Kokrajhar and Chirang.
Section 130 of CrPC empowers an executive magistrate to requisition Army troops and says the officer concerned of the Armed forces "shall obey such requisition".
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi too said that Army presence from day one would have prevented the "unprecedented crisis" and loss of so many lives.
Union Home Ministry officials admitted there was delay in deployment of paramilitary forces in violence-hit areas as most of the forces were sent from other states and from places as far as Jamshedpur and Imphal.