Clashes between minority immigrants and Bodo tribals continued unabated as the toll in the ethnic violence shot up to 40 today with the recovery of eight more bodies even as the Centre asked the Assam government to nab the “ring leaders” involved in unrest. Five more bodies were recovered from Nijni in Chirang district and three from worst-hit Kokrajhar where shoot-at-sight orders and indefinite curfew were in force, police said.
Two fresh incidents of arson have been reported from Chirang and Kokrajhar districts, but no casualty have been reported. Thirteen columns of the Army were deployed in Kokrajhar, Chirang, Dhubri and Bongaigaon where they staged flag marches accompanied by a magistrate.
Defence spokesman Colonel S Phogat said the army units had identified a number of sensitive and hyper-sensitive areas in the four districts to enable them to better patrol them.
In Delhi, Union Home Secretary RK Singh said 2,000 central security personnel have been deputed to guard Guwahati-bound trains and railway tracks which were disrupted.
“We have asked the state government to book ring leaders of both sides so that violence can be checked immediately. No one involved in the violence will be spared,” he said.
Ruling out the possibility of involvement of anyone from across the border, he said, “The international border is sealed. It is simply impossible for any organised group crossing over to India from across the border to carry out the attacks.”
Nearly two lakh people were rendered homeless in the violence and about 125 relief camps set up.
In Guwahati, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi held a meeting of government officials, including the chief secretary, to monitor the situation.
“25 people have been so far killed in Kokrajhar district while 15 others have lost their lives in neighbouring Chirang district,” Assam IGP (law and order) LR Bishnoi told PTI.
Indefinite curfew is continuing in Kokrajhar while night curfew is on in Chirang and Dhubri districts.
Bishnoi said, “The situation is stablising.”
North Frontier Railway spokesman Nripendra Bhattacharjee said passenger and goods trains services had partially resumed this afternoon and the stalled trains would resume their journey with the ‘improvement’ in the situation.
More than 30,000 passengers, who are still stranded in New Bongaigaon, Kamakhyaguri and New Jalpaiguri stations of the NFR section, complained of food and water crisis.
“With the resumption of train services, we hope that the stranded passengers will be taken to their destinations gradually,” the NFR spokesman said.
Joint secretary, MHA in-charge of northeast, Sambhu Singh and Ajay Chaddha (special secretary, internal security) toured the affected areas in Kokrajhar to take stock of the situation.
Singh later said there was “no proof of Bangladeshi immigrants involved in the incident so far. The Bangladesh economy has improved and so infiltration possibilities have come down.”
They have also assured to provide adequate security to the people.
The all-party team met the affected people in relief camps and held peace meetings in various places giving an assurance that the government would provide security to all sections of people.
New Delhi : The CPI-M Wednesday blamed the Assam and central governments for the violence in the state that has left around 30 people dead and demanded strict punishment for the killers.
“It is indeed deeply disturbing that over 35 people have lost their lives, several are untraced, over 50 villages have been burnt, thousands have been forced to flee from their homes,” the CPI-M said.
The Communist Party of India-Marxist called it “a monumental failure” of the Congress-led government in Assam which it said refused to take timely action and allowed the tensions to increase.
“Even earlier the warning signs of distrust and tensions among different communities was ignored,” it said. “The central government must explain why it too delayed its response to the violence.”
The CPI-M also condemned what it said was “motivated propaganda that seeks to justify the violence against the minority community in the name of illegal migration from Bangladesh.
“This is a total fabrication since the large majority of people in these areas are Indian citizens who have been living in the area for decades having been displaced from their own areas due to the erosion of their land by the Brahmaputra and other rivers.
“It is the tragedy of Assam, a state which has multi-lingual, multi-religious and different communities that the dominant political parties should practice a politics which divide and weaken people’s unity leading to repeated bouts of violence.”
The party asked the government to take immediate steps to restore peace, and sought severe punishment for those directly involved in the violence.