Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Wednesday accused Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh of failing to provide security along the state's border with Nagaland and accused the Centre of not taking the recent violence there seriously.
Addressing a press conference here, Gogoi said "Yes, I am responsible as the state CM for what is happening along the border. But why are you not blaming Rajnath Singh? Why are same charges not being made against the union home minister for failing to give protection?"
The Assam-Nagaland border, he said, is a disputed subject and the area is controlled by the Centre with the help of CRPF, a 'neutral' force which failed to provide security to the people and properties there.
But the Centre, he said, is not taking the issue seriously at all. "It is a very serious issue but the way they are handling it, is not serious."
He condemned the police action against protesters at Rangajan area of Golaghat district on Tuesday and said the government will order an inquiry by Additional Chief Secretary Subhash Chandra Das into the incident that left 22 civilians and seven police personnel injured.
District police had earlier put the figure of injured at 18, including women, in the firing of rubber pellets and lathicharge when protestors turned violent and attacked police and CRPF following a road blockade agitation on Tuesday.
Gogoi said "A few policemen might be at fault but for that the entire force cannot be blamed. The Assam police is still one of the best police force in the country."
The police, he said, lathi charged and used rubber bullets when protesters became violent following the rescue and release of nine Nagaland police personnel who were illegally confined by villagers since August 15.
"Despite all these, people in the border still have confidence in Assam Police and not in the central force. They want replacement of the CRPF by Assam Police.
"If the border is given to me, I will show how to protect people," Gogoi claimed.
The chief minister said one of the protestors named Ajit Tanti had died at Rangajan when he was run over by a vehicle. "Still we will give Rs 5 lakh to his family as an ex-gratia amount."
Gogoi said the central government is more equipped and has better resources to tackle situations like in the Assam-Nagaland border and it is its responsibility to give security in the neutral land.
"You (people) voted for BJP. Now they (BJP government at the Centre) are responsible and you are not saying anything to them.
"I really doubt if Assam MPs have yet got the chance to meet the prime minister or the (union) home minister," he said.
The chief minister said a joint secretary would be visiting Assam on Thursday to take stock of the situation.
He brushed aside allegations that the police became violent on Tuesday in retaliation to the attack on his convoy by villagers a day before during his visit to the affected places.
Gogoi also charged the electronic media, both national and local for presenting only 'a one-sided biased story' of Tuesday's incident.
Altogether 9 persons had lost their lives in firing and arson allegedly by miscreants from Nagaland in Uriamghat area of Golaghat district on August 12.
Over 10,000 people have fled their homes and are taking shelter in relief camps.
So far, Nagaland police have arrested 15 persons and CRPF apprehended nine persons in connection with the violence, Gogoi said.
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