Assam violence claims 32 lives, 1,500 more jawans sent
Ethnic violence today escalated in more areas of western Assam with 11 fresh casualties in clashes and police firing, forcing the Centre to rush 1,500 more paramilitary personnel to control the unrest that has claimed 32 lives so far.
A concerned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called up Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and asked him to do "everything possible" to control the violence while promising Centre's full cooperation.
"Four persons were killed in police firing this morning when they were indulging in violence in Rampur and Chaparkata areas of Kokrajhar," IGP, (BTAD), S N Singh told PTI.
Seven more bodies were recovered in Kokrajhar and Chirang districts.
As new areas came under the grip of the ongoing clashes that began last week between illegal immigrants and Bodos, the state government sounded alert in Sonitpur, Baska, Kamrup (rural) and Darrang districts, official sources said.
The Prime Minister spoke to Gogoi and took stock of the situation. UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Union Home Minister P Chidamabaram also called up the chief minister.
"The Prime Minister has directed him to do everything possible to control the situation and for relief and rehabilitation of the affected," a PMO spokesperson said.
Union Home Secretary R K Singh told reporters in Delhi that another 1,500 personnel of paramilitary forces were rushed today.
According to Chirang SP Kumar Sanjiv Krishna, sporadic incidents of violence were reported from remote areas.
Nearly one lakh people have been rendered homeless in Kokrajhar, Chirang, Dhubri, Bongaigaon, Udalguri and Sonitpur and most of them are sheltered in relief camps.
Gogoi held a late night meeting of cabinet and alleged that the incident was a "part of political conspiracy" to malign his government.
During the day, DGP J N Choudhury reviewed the situation.
Nineteen people have lost their lives in worst-hit Kokrajhar district and nine in Chirang in the clashes while four have been killed in police firing in Rampur and Chaparkata areas of Kokrajhar.
One body was recovered from Odlaguri, the home village of Meghalaya Governor Rajendra Prasad Mooshahary, under Gossaigaon sub division of Kokrajhar district while another was found from neighbouring Chirang.
At least 26 trains were cancelled and 31 stopped at different stations, prompting Railway Minister Mukul Roy to seek enhanced security from Chidambaram for safety of over 30,000 passengers stranded midway.
Yesterday, shoot-at-sight orders were issued in Kokrajhar district and indefinite curfew clamped while night curfew was in force in Chirang district.
Miscreants pelted stones and attacked the Guwahati-bound Rajdhani Express at Gossaigaon in Kokrajhar damaging four coaches but none was injured. The train was turned back and was halted at Kamakhyaguri station bordering West Bengal with the authorities considering to take it to Coochbehar.
Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) Chief Hagrama Mohilary demanded sealing of international and inter-state borders near the affected districts.
The fresh batch of 1,500 paramilitary personnel were sent just a day after the Home Ministry dispatched 1,400 security personnel.