Fresh clashes erupt in Assam`s violence-hit Golaghat district

Notwithstanding the indefinite curfew imposed in trouble-torn district of Golaghat in Assam, fresh clashes took place between the police and protesters on Thursday.

By Deepak Nagpal | Updated: Aug 21, 2014, 12:55 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau/Deepak Nagpal

Guwahati: Notwithstanding the indefinite curfew imposed in trouble-torn district of Golaghat in Assam, fresh clashes took place between the police and protesters on Thursday.

As per PTI, police fired in the air and burst tear gas shells to disperse protesters who were attempting to block National Highway at Numalimargh in Golaghat district.

A policeman was injured in the clashes as protesters threw stones at police vehicles damaging one of them.
Meanwhile, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju will today visit the Golaghat district amid escalating tensions along the border with Nagaland.

Rijiju, who is in Guwahati, will also hold talks with Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and his Nagaland counterpart TR Zeliang on the matter.

"We are here to assist the state government. We sent additional forces as demanded by the state government. Now it is for the state government to use to forces... This is a matter to solve between two state governments and the Centre has to see," Rijiju was quoted as saying this morning before departing for Guwahati.

In Golaghat, the situation continues to remain tense and a curfew is in place.

The Army staged flag marches from Golaghat town to Rangajan, Bokakhat and Numaligarh on trucks mounted with guns and red flags. The district administration urged people over the public address system to remain indoors in the curfew-bound areas.

Opposition political party AGP has today called a 12-hour dawn-to-dusk shutdown today.

Over the last two days, clashes have taken place between the police and protesters at Rangajon in Golaghat district. Three people have lost their lives in the clashes - two of them apparently died in police firing.
The first clash took place on Tuesday when police initially used batons and tear gas and then opened fire to disperse protesters blocking the National Highway 36 that leads to Nagaland. At least 21 people were injured and one was crushed to death by a truck during Tuesday`s clash.

On Wednesday, the second clash broke out and two persons were killed in alleged police firing. The police, however, claimed that they had only fired rubber bullets to disperse the violent mob.

One police constable has so far been suspended in connection with the clashes.

Also, National Highway 36 continued to remain blocked with protesters burning tyres and felling trees at several locations.

The tensions in Golaghat started last week after armed insurgents, allegedly from Nagaland, killed at least nine people in seven villages along the border on August 12.

Over 10,000 villagers have left their homes and taken refuge in relief camps since then.

“Nine people have been killed till now in the violence. There should be a joint effort to bring back peace,” Assam DGP Khagen Sharma said today.

Assam CM Gogoi has held the Centre responsible for failing to contain violence, claiming it "was not proactive in helping us". The Centre refuted the charge, with MoS Home Rijiju saying they had deployed central forces and it was upto the state government to use them.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has already asked for a report from the Home Ministry on the situation.