Army staged a flag march on Wednesday in areas hit by violence in Assam's Goalpara district and shoot-at-sight orders issued even as Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said he would recommend a CBI inquiry into the violence in which the toll rose to 19.
"The toll in the violence in Goalpara district stands at 19. 12 persons died in police firing, one was killed in arson and looting and six others in clashes," Gogoi told reporters in Guwahati, as indefinite curfew continued in Krishnai and Mornoi areas after violence broke out during panchayat elections on Tuesday.
Gogoi said the state government would ask for a CBI investigation and a judicial inquiry would look into lapses and shortcomings on the part of the administration.
"The CBI has investigating powers and it will look into issues like finding the culprits, while the judicial inquiry will cover shortcomings and lapses," he said.
"Now the situation is under control. Police and security force deployment have been strengthened, curfew has been put in place in two areas (Krishnai and Mornoi), Army has been deployed and shoot-at-sight orders have been given," Gogoi said.
He said around 70 others, including 30 police and CRPF personnel, were injured in the violence which broke out in Goalpara and parts of Kamrup Rural districts after mobs opposed to the holding of panchayat polls in the Rabha Hasong Autonomous District Council areas attacked polling booths during the panchayat elections on Tuesday.
"Around a hundred houses have been burned," Gogoi said.
"The last incident of violence took place at around 11:30 pm last night. Since then, there has been no fresh incident, but we are maintaining a constant vigil as there is rumour-mongering and miscreants are trying to create disturbances," the chief minister said.
Defence sources said the army was conducting A flag march and working in close coordination with the state government with additional columns kept on standby.
Miscreants fired injuring seven persons, including four seriously in Gobindapur Sala area under Goalpara police station area last night where ten houses were set ablaze while another five were torched at Rangagora and 20 at Paharsinghpara under Mornoi police station, police sources said in Goalpara.
Residents of three villages fled their homes and were sheltering in relief camps, police sources said.
"I admit that some lapses have taken place in our assessment and intelligence. I take full responsibility," the chief minister said.
Stating that a conflict of interest among groups prevailed in Goalpara district, he said "Goalpara has always been a place where there exists conflict of interest among different communities. Our aim should be to resolve the issues peacefully.
"The stress is to ensure that no further incidents take place. The chief secretary and the DGP are monitoring the situation," he said.
Gogoi said that besides Rs five lakh to the next of kin of those killed in the violence, the government would also provide rehabilitation and houses under the Indira Awas Yojana to those who lost property.
Environment and Forest minister Rockybul Hussain, Agriculture minister Nilomoni Sen Deka, Water Resources minister Rajib Lochan Pegu, besides former chief minister and senior Congress leader Bhumidhar Barman have left for Goalpara on Wednesday morning.
The Rabhas and Hasongs supported by Bodo and Garo tribes have been demanding holding of the RHAC elections ahead of the grassroot polls claiming that panchayats would undermine the Council's authority.
Meanwhile, the body of BJP worker, Swapan Pal who was killed on Tuesday in Karimganj district, was recovered from the main bazaar in Dholai, police sources said.
As per preliminary investigation, Pal was killed by some workers of a rival political party after conclusion of the panchayat polls.
As soon as information of Pal's body being found spread, hundreds of BJP workers came out on to the streets.
Additional policemen were deployed as a precautuinary measure.
Another BJP worker, Pakhi Mian Laskar was killed in Jhanjabarbali in Cachar district.
Meanwhile, the Assam State Election Commission has ordered re-polling at 34 polling station in Cachar and 20 polling stations in Karimganj district on February 15.