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Ethnic violence rocks Assam, thousands flee

Last updated on: July 24, 2012 22:20 IST

Ethnic violence rocks Assam, thousands flee

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The toll in continuing violence in western Assam reached 32 on Tuesday after four persons were killed in police firing in Kokrajhar district, where shoot-at-sight orders and indefinite curfew remained in force. The Centre has rushed 1,500 more paramilitary personnel to control the the unrest.

"Four persons were killed in police firing on Tuesday morning when they were indulging in violence in the Rampur and Chaparkata areas of Kokrajhar," said Inspector General of Police Bodoland Territorial Areas District S N Singh.

Sporadic incidents of violence and arson were reported from Kokrajhar, Chirang and Dhubri districts, while the situation was tense in neighbouring Bongaigaon and Udalguri districts.

Nearly 70 houses in four villages at Bijni in Chirang district were torched.  There were reports of violence spreading to Sonitpur district in north central Assam also.

Reportage: K Anurag in Guwahati

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Ethnic violence rocks Assam

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Shoot at sight orders and indefinite curfew continued in Kokrajhar, where the army was deployed, while night curfew was in force in Dhubri and Chirang districts, official sources said.

Miscreants pelted stones and attacked the Guwahati-bound Rajdhani Express at Gossaigaon in Kokrajhar district damaging four coaches. The train was turned back and was halted at Kamakhyaguri station bordering West Bengal.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called up Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi during the day and directed him to do everything possible to control the violence.

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

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.

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Ethnic violence rocks Assam

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Assam Director-General of Police Jayanta Narayan Choudhury is scheduled to visit the violence-racked districts 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.

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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.

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.

With inputs from PTI

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