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Rediff.com  » News » Assam requests more central forces as violence continues unabated

Assam requests more central forces as violence continues unabated

Last updated on: July 24, 2012 17:39 IST

Fresh violence on Tuesday rocked the trouble-torn Bodoland Territorial Administered Districts in Assam where the Rajdhani Express was attacked by some persons even as the entire train services to and from the Northeast was hit.

Unidentified persons pelted stones and attacked the coaches of the Guwahati-bound Rajdhani Express at Gossaigaon in Kokrajhar district damaging four coaches, though there was no casualty or injuries, North East Frontier Railway sources said.

The train has been turned back and halted at Kamakhyaguri station bordering West Bengal, but the authorities were considering to take it to Coochbehar.

The situation in ethnic violence-ravaged Kokrajhar, Chirang and Dhubri districts of Assam have remained very tense with reports pouring in about more arson in villages while the police had to open fire in two of the villages in Kokrajhar district to control mob frenzy.

The Assam government has asked for additional companies of paramilitary forces from the Centre to contain the ethnic flare up that has so far claimed 20 lives besides rendering over 50,000 people from both Bodo and religious minority communities homeless.

Indefinite curfew continues in Kokrajhar while night curfew will continue in Dhubri and Chirang districts in the ethnic violence in Bodoland Territorial Areas District districts which has claimed 21 districts, the police said. More than 50,000 people have taken shelter in 75 relief camps set up by the district authorities, most of them in worst-affected Kokrajhar district.

Assam Director-General of Police Jayanta Narayan Choudhury is scheduled to visit the violence-racked districts on Tuesday to take stock of the situation.

Assam Revenue Minister Prithbi Majhi and agriculture minister Nilamoni Sen Deka have rushed to the district on the direction of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi while forest minister

Rockybul Hussain, food and civil supplies minister Nazrul Islam and tourism minister Chandan Brahma were already camping there.

A delegation of Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress has also arrived in the trouble-torn districts to assess the situation.

Train services have been hit due to the violence with 31 trains halted and controlled at various places.

Railway authorities have urged the state government to provide adequate security to ensure safe movement of trains.

Meanwhile, Bodoland Territorial Council Chief Hagrama Mohilary claimed that a section of the people have alleged that NDFB could have some role in the violence.

However, sources said the NDFB is now under a ceasefire agreement and the talks process has been initiated with it.

"I urge the NDFB to calm down and refrain from such activities while the government should take the initiative to bring those cadres who are still in the jungle to the mainstream and involve them in the peace process," Mohilary said.

He also alleged that there were inadequate security forces in the BTAD which was creating difficulties in maintaining law and order in the state.

"Our top priority is to stop violence in the districts and we urge the state government not to pull back Army deployment at this stage," Mohilary said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday took stock of the situation in Assam where ethnic clashes have taken place and directed the Assam CM to do everything possible to control violence.

"The prime minister spoke to the chief minister (over phone) and took stock of the situation. The PM has directed him to do everything possible to control the situation and for relief and rehabilitation of the affected," a spokesperson in the Prime Minister's Office said.

The DGP, while on the way to Kokrajhar told the media in Bongaigaon that the situation was very tense and more central forces would be required to contain the spread of violence. He said that the police would deal firmly and impartially with those responsible for triggering the violence.

The chief executive member of Bodoland Territorial Council, Hagrama Mohilary on Tuesday alleged that the outlawed Bodo militant group National Democratic Front of Bodoland could be involved in fanning the flare up and called upon the Bodo people not to give in to the NDFB in instigating violence.

Assam Revenue Minister Prithbi Majhi and Agriculture Minister Nilamoni Sen Deka have rushed to the district on the direction of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi while forest minister Rockybul Hussain, food and civil supplies minister Nazrul Islam and tourism minister Chandan Brahma were already camping there.

Meanwhile, Assam Pradesh Congress Committee president Bhubaneswar Kalita has accused the district administration in Kokrajhar for failing to act in time firmly to arrest spread of violence. The APCC has sent a five-member team to Kokrajhar to take stock of the situation.

The violence has severely disrupted the schedules of trains.

(With inputs from PTI)

K Anurag in Guwahati