'Everyone for redeployment of army in riot-hit Assam'
Even as the Centre directed Bodoland Territorial Council Chief Executive Member Hagrama Mohilary and the president of the All India United Democratic Front Badruddin Ajmal Qasmi to "restrain their supporters and restore peace with immediate effect," the Ministry of Home Affairs Joint Secretary in charge of the North East Shambhu Singh is personally camping in the riot affected Kokrajhar district.
Singh is scheduled to visit three riot-hit districts, Kokrajhar, Dhubri and Cherang this week to hold talks with the riot affected Bodos and Muslim residents, and oversee the security and administrative work to restore normalcy in the Bodoland Territorial Council area.
The Army has been asked to remain on stand by. Currently, police and paramilitary personnel are deployed to control the law and order situation. Besides the existing paramilitary forces, the Centre has rushed an additional 44 companies to control the riot. The death toll has crossed 38 and over 1,70,000 refugees have so far taken shelter in several make shift camps following the ethnic flare up leading to arson, killing and destruction of property.
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Image: Assam's riot affected Bodo tribal refugees in a makeshift camp
'Will not tolerate communal elements to fuel violence'
The BTC Chief Hagrama Mohilary, talking to Vision Communications stated that "everybody wants redeployment of army in the affected areas for the return of peace and communal harmony. I have discussed with All Bodo Students Union, All Assam Students Union and All Minority Students Union leaders besides others. Everybody is for army deployment. However, things are now under control."
Talking to the media, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi maintained that it was not an ethnic riot. "Some miscreants from both the communities indulged in violence. There are rumour mongers. But things are now under control. My ministers, officials, director general of police and security forces are making all possible efforts to restore peace and normalcy. We have given shoot-at-sight order and deployed additional paramilitary forces in all the affected areas. We will not tolerate any communal elements to fuel violence," he said.
However, the affected people are very angry and upset over the sudden flare up of communal violence. They are of the view that some vested interests are responsible for the ethnic clashes. They are worried about the loss of properties and their near and dear ones. They have asked the government to tackle the situation with iron hands.
Image: Assam's riot affected Muslim refugees in a school playground