Assam toll rises to 12, army called in (Second Lead)

July 22nd, 2012 - 10:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, July 22 (IANS) The death toll in the communal violence in Assam’s Bodoland area rose to 12 Sunday with police recovering three more bodies. The army has been pressed into service to assist the security forces.

Apart from the 12 killed due to communal violence, another two people were killed and three other were injured when unidentified gunmen opened fire at the crowded Mongolian Bazaar market in Chirang district Sunday evening.

Police, however, termed this incident as an isolated one and not related to the communal violence, which started in Kokrajhar district since July 19.

“The situation has improved since yesterday (Saturday) but it is still tense. Army has been pressed into service and they are assisting the police and paramilitary forces throughout the Kokrajhar district,” S.N. Singh, the inspector general of police, Bodoland Territorial Areas District (BTAD), told IANS.

He said there had not been any fresh incident of violence in the district, which is around 215 km from here.

“However, three people were abducted today from a passenger vehicle in Chirang district close to Kokrajhar. This might be an isolated incident also we are not taking any chances and an investigation is on,” he said.

“Today’s incident at Mongolian Bazar has nothing to do with the ongoing clashes,” said Singh on the incident.

Kokrajhar and Chirang fall under BTAD’s jurisdiction.

The night curfew (6 p.m. to 6 a.m.) imposed Friday in Kokrajhar was still on, Deputy Commissioner Donald Gilsellon told IANS.

He said the 12 people who were killed in the violence included members of the Bodo community and a religious minority.

He said six companies and two platoons of central paramilitary forces had been deployed along with police battalions.

Meanwhile, the Assam government in a statement said the home department was taking all measures to maintain law and order.

Ten additional senior Assam Police officials had been sent to the district, it said, adding that the government had asked for more paramilitary forces.

According to official sources, violence started after gunmen attacked two student leaders — Mohibul Islam and Abdul Siddique Sheikh — in Magurbari Thursday night.

Following the incident, four former Bodo militants were shot dead Friday night. Another five people, including a 14-year-old boy, were killed in the district Saturday.

Assam Transport Minister Chandan Brahma had on Saturday announced Rs.3 lakh as compensation to the next of kin of the dead and Rs.50,000 to those injured in the violence.

Kokrajhar falls under the jurisdiction of BTAD which is dministered by Bodoland Territorial Council. the council came into existence after the signing of a tripartite peace accord among Bodo Liberation Tigers militants, the Assam government and the Central government in February 2003.

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