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Congress blames Modi for instigating Assam violence

May 04, 2014 17:27 IST

With 32 people being killed in Assam, the Centre on Sunday said it is determined to curb attacks on minorities as the violence there was aimed at starting a "full-fledged communal conflagration".

Attacking the Bharatiya Janata Party and its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi for the violence in Assam, the Congress said it was a result of "communal polarisation" done by them to garner votes.

"The violence in Assam is the result of communal polarisation being done by Narendra Modi and the BJP. Since BJP's graph is going down now, they have raised the pitch. Modi's speech in Assam was an attempt to polarise voters," Congress leader Meem Afzal said.

The Congress leader said that the main opposition was trying to replicate what they did in states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh especially keeping in mind the Lok Sabha elections.

"They have tried to do polarisation in Assam in the same manner that they did in Bihar and UP. They are also doing it keeping in mind upcoming phases of polls in Bihar and UP," Afzal added.

A political blame game over the Assam violence has erupted with BJP faulting "vote-bank" politics of the Congress governments at the Centre.

Blaming Modi for the Assam violence, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah had said that Muslims were targeted because Modi made a speech there and tried to "incite" people against the community.

Senior Congress leader and Union Minister Kapil Sibal had also accused BJP leaders of playing the "communal card" to garner votes.

The BJP, meanwhile, has accused Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of "not doing enough" to maintain law and order and good governance in Assam. It alleged that Congress-led governments were indulging in "vote bank politics" and not taking adequate steps to control the situation in the state.

Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde said that in the last few days, there have been wanton acts of depredation leading to death of 32 people, mostly women and children, and of them, 31 belonged to the minority community.

"These innocent lives were lost at the hands of cadres of certain group. The objective of this group seems to be aimed at starting a full-fledged communal conflagration," he said in a statement in New Delhi.

Without naming the IK Songbijit faction of National Democratic Front of Bodoland, the militant group believed to be responsible for the violence, the home minister said these acts of violence have started only after the group started steadily losing its cadres either through surrender or elimination during operations when they opened fire on the forces.

"The central government cannot remain unaffected by these killings and is determined to ensure the safety and security of innocent human lives. This determination is all the more important since these incidents are targeted at the minorities," he said.

Strongly condemning the acts of the militant group, Shinde said the home ministry has already deployed 43 companies (4300 personnel) of central armed police forces and 10 more companies (1000 personnel) are being sent.

He said the defence ministry also has deployed 15 columns of the army comprising of approximately 1500 soldiers.

These numbers are not fixed and can be increased as per further requirement, he said.

"My appeal to all is to maintain calm and quiet as the forces on the ground will definitely control the situation and bring the guilty to justice," Shinde said. He said the public leaders of both Bodo and minority community must see to it that the situation does not deteriorate.

The violence has so far claimed 32 lives in three Bodo-dominated districts -- Kokrajhar, Chirang and Baska -- in Assam in last three days.

The Assam government has sought a National Investigation Agency probe into the violence. Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has promised to hunt down those involved in the killings.

Meanwhile, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Sunday apprised United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi about the prevailing situation in BTAD and the slew of measures taken by the state government to restore peace and normalcy in the trouble-torn areas.

The UPA Chairperson rang up the CM in the morning to take stock of the latest law and order situation. Gogoi said that there had been no major untoward incidents in the past 24 hours. 

Assam Governor Janaki Ballav Patnaik has expressed his deep concern over the incidents of violence engulfing the BTAD area. In a statement, the governor has said that he had no words to condemn this most unfortunate killing of innocent people. 

“Whether ethnic or communal, these types of incidents should never be allowed to happen. Such recurring violence resulting in the deaths of innocent people and children needs to be stubbed out immediately with strong hands and peace should be allowed to return to and normalcy prevail in the entire BTAD area.”  

He also added that house-to-house searches should be made and all illegal arms and ammunitions must be seized. He urged for a thorough investigation into all possibilities that had resulted in such violence; to find out why such incidents occurred and what forces were behind them and stressed that the guilty be brought to book without delay.

The governor sought the cooperation of the delegations that met him and submitted memorandums to him on the matter and appealed to them to undertake every opportunity to reinstate peace and normalcy in the affected areas.

With inputs from K Anurag in Guwahati

Image:Security personnel patrol the attack-hit area of the Balapara villagein Assam

Photograph: Reuters

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