Assam violence toll at 25; shoot-at-sight orders issued
Guwahati: Shoot-at-sight orders have been issued in Kokrajhar district of Assam following fresh incidents of arson and violence. On Monday, the Army conducted flag march and an indefinite curfew was also imposed. The toll in the ethnic violence rose to 25 with four persons killed in police firing in Kokrajhar district.
Four more bodies were recovered from the district yesterday, said police officials.
The clashes between minority immigrants and Bodo tribals have also spread to the neighbouring Chirang district, where four persons have been killed so far. The remaining 17 deaths of the total 21 have been reported from Kokrajhar.
"Four persons were killed in police firing this morning when they were indulging in violence in the Rampur and Chaparkata areas of Kokrajhar," IGP, Bodoland Territorial Areas District (BTAD), SN Singh said.
As per police, fresh arson was reported yesterday from Fakiragram, Serfanguri, Narabari, Gossaigaon, Dotoma, Mokrajan and Tulsibari areas where miscreants set ablaze abandoned houses.
The Army had staged a flag march after incidents of arson in interior areas, particularly in abandoned houses of villagers who had fled in panic.
A major trouble was quelled by the Army and police when a group of more than 400 armed minority immigrants from Joypur tried to proceed towards Kokrajhar town.
The police fired in the air and dispersed them.
In another incident, miscreants set ablaze a camp of the disbanded Bodoland Liberation Tigers at Sapotgram where the police was forced to blank fire.
Shoot at sight and indefinite curfew has been ordered in Kokrajhar district, while night curfew is on in Chirang and Dhubri districts. Army has been deployed in Kokrajhar and Dhubri.
Official sources said nearly 18 companies of paramilitary forces have been deployed in lower Assam to combat the situation.
Sources in Kokrajhar and Chirang district administrations said more than 50,000 villagers are taking shelter in various relief camps.
In Kokrajhar district, nearly 40,000 victims have taken shelter in 35 relief camps set up by the government, while more than 10,000 victims have themselves taken shelter in various schools and government offices in Chirang as the government has not opened any official relief camp, official sources said.
Two senior ministers Rockybul Hussain and Nazrul Islam, who are touring the troubled areas, held a closed-door meeting with officials of the affected districts.
Later talking to reporters, they appealed to the people to maintain communal harmony and assured that strict action will be taken against the miscreants.
"We are assuring from the government and the Bodoland Tribal Autonomous Districts (BTAD) side that all steps will be taken to provide security to the people of all communities. There is no need to panic," Hussain said.
Train service in the Northeast has been adversely affected due to the ongoing violence in BTAD area in Lower Assam, Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) said.
"In view of the serious law and order situation in Lower Assam, running of trains have been affected and passengers are stranded in various stations," NFR chief public relation officer S Hajong said here, adding efforts are on to resume services.
(With PTI inputs)