Assam toll rises to 14, army called in (Third Lead)

July 22nd, 2012 - 11:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, July 22 (IANS) The death toll in the communal violence in Assam’s Bodoland area rose to 14 Sunday even as the violence spread to Chirang district. The army has been pressed into service to assist the security forces.

A statement issued by the Assam government Sunday evening said that the 14 people have been killed so far and nine others injured due to the incidents of violence between two communities in the two districts of Kokrajhar and Chirang under the Bodoland Territorial Areas District (BTAD).

The statement further informed that there were seven incidents of violence took place in both the districts

More than 26,000 people have taken shelter in 36 relief camps in Kokrajhar district,it said.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has also instructed the state Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain and Food and Civil Supplies Minister Nazrul Islam to visit the violence-hit areas on Monday.

Inspector General of Police, BTAD, S.N. Singh said that the situation has improved since 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,” Singh told IANS.

While police recovered three bodies from near the Gourang river in Kokrajhar district Sunday morning, two people died and three others were injured after unidentified gunmen opened indiscriminate fire at Mongolian Bazar under in Chirang district.

Police, however, initially termed the Mongolian Bazaar incident as an isolated incident.

“In another incident, 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,” Singh said.

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.

Six companies and two platoons of central paramilitary forces had been deployed along with police battalions, he added.

The Assam government had also sent seven civil officials and 15 police officials from other districts to the Kokrajhar and Chirang districts to assist the administration in maintaining law and order situation.

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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