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Assam violence: Shoot-at-sight order; death toll 21

Jul 24, 2012 07:33 IST

#Assam   #Assam violence   #Communal violence   #Kokrajhar  

Guwahati: Communal violence in Assam's Bodoland area continued unabated in Kokrajhar and Chirang districts and also spread to new areas on Monday. With the toll now 21, the administration has issued shoot-at-sight orders in Kokrajhar and extended night curfew indefinitely in both districts.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi held an urgent meeting at his residence here over the law and order situation in the two districts and asked the state police chief JN Choudhury and Principal Secretary Home GD Tripathi to visit the districts on Tuesday.

An all party delegation will also visit the two violence-hit districts Tuesday.

The violence also affected train services with three express trains due to pass through the area stopped at an earlier station for security reasons.

Security personnel keep vigil in curfew-bound Kokrajhar area. PTI

"We have issued shoot-at-sight orders in Kokrajhar district. The night curfew which was on in both the districts had been extended for an indefinite period. So far, 15 people have died in Kokrajhar and four in Chirang," Inspector General of Police, Bodoland Territorial Area District, SN Singh told IANS.

"People have abandoned their houses and shifting to relief camps. Some miscreants from both the communities are also taking advantage of the situation and are setting the abandoned houses ablaze," he added.

Three out-bound trains from Guwahati -- the Kamrup Express, Bangalore Express and Northeast Express -- were halted at New Bongaigaon railway station, as railway authorities did not want the trains to move through the trouble-torn areas.

The ongoing violence also spread to Dhubri district in Lower Assam on Monday forcing the district administration to impose night curfew in certain pockets.

"Curfew had been imposed in some sensitive areas under five police stations in the district -Dhubri, Gouripur, Golakganj, Bilasipara and Chapar," Dhubri Deputy Commissioner KC Kalita told IANS.

The All Minority Students Union (AMSU) had also called a 24-hour shutdown in the district Monday in protest against the violent attacks of minority community in Kokrajhar and Chirang districts.

"Police had to resort to blank firing in Gouripur and Golakganj area of the district after some bandh supporters tried to close shops forcefully. Some of the bandh supporters also damaged the office of Bodoland Peoples' Front (BPF) in Gauripur town," said Dhubri Superintendent of Police Pradip Saloi.

BPF is ruling the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) which runs the administration of the BTAD areas.

Meanwhile, Assam Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain and Food and Civil Supplies Minister Nazrul Islam visited some of the violence-affected areas of Kokrajhar district Monday and reviewed the law and order situation.

Earlier in the day, an alert was sounded in ten districts on the north bank of the Brahmaputra following communal violence in the Bodoland area, officials said Monday.

The army has been called in to help police and paramilitary forces in Kokrajhar and Chirang.

The National Disaster Response Force and the Assam Forest Protection Force are also being deployed in the districts to assist the civil and police officials.

According to official sources, the violence started after gunmen attacked two student leaders in Magurbari Thursday. Following this, four former Bodo militants were shot dead Friday.

The AMSU has meanwhile condemned the government's failure to contain law and order situation and demanded intervention of Assam Governor J.B. Patnaik.

Opposition parties like the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have also slammed the government's role into the whole incident and the administration's failure to help the affected people.

With inputs from IANS