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Assam: 22 hurt as tribal protestors set bus ablaze
Anurag Kashyap in Guwahati | October 27, 2007 16:22 IST
Last Updated: October 27, 2007 16:36 IST
Twenty-two passengers were injured when a group of tribal students protestors set ablaze a bus on Saturday at Golukganj in Dhubri district of western Assam.
The condition of three of the injured was stated to be serious.
Dhubri district police informed that the bus, which was going from Cooch Behar in West Bengal to North Lakhimpur in Assam with 60 persons on board, had been forced to a halt by a large group of about 50 agitating Assam Koch Rajbonshi Students' Union, before setting fire to it.
"The protestors locked the door and poured petrol before setting the vehicle on fire. Fortunately, 38 of the passengers managed to come out in time and escaped unscathed. Twenty-two passengers had been injured before they could be evacuated from the burning bus," the police informed
Police have so far arrested 14 protestors in connection with the incident, while two cops have been put under suspension on charges of dereliction of duty.
The police are on the look out for AKRASU president Bishwajit Rai to arrest him on charges of fomenting trouble.
The AAKRASU have called for a 300 hours National Highway blockade since October 18 in protest against the government of India's rejection of their demand for Scheduled Tribe status for the Koch-Rajbongshi community in Assam as well as to press for their long-standing demand for a separate Kamatapur state to be carved out of parts of western Assam and North Bengal.
In view of the 300 hours highway blockade called by the AKRASU, the administration has put into practice the system of providing heavy police escort to convoys of vehicles passing through the National Highway during day time while entry of vehicles to the troubled areas have been restricted at night at two check-point set up by the police.
It was yet to be ascertained how the ill-fated bus crossed the police barricade that was supposed to stop entry of vehicles from West Bengal side at night hours.