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29 Biharis killed in Assam; army out
November 19, 2003 08:44 IST
Last Updated: November 20, 2003 00:28 IST
Violence unleashed against Biharis claimed 29 lives in Assam on Wednesday as the army fanned out across the state and curfew was imposed in Tinsukia and Duliajan towns.
Of the killings and violence in five districts, Tinsukia district accounted for the highest with 10 casualties followed by Dibrugarh eight, Bongaigaon four, Dhubri four and Nalbari three, official sources said.
The militant outfit ULFA, whose commander-in-chief Paresh Barua had asked Biharis to quit Assam over attacks on railway passengers in Bihar, killed 11 Biharis in Dibrugarh, Bongaigaon and Nalbari districts, including seven today.
The sources said it was suspected that the banned outfit was responsible for hacking to death of six family members of a small Bihari trader Uma Kant Tewari at Kheronipathar in Dibrugarh district last night.
Indefinite curfew was imposed in Tinsukia district from 1300 hours this afternoon following mob attacks on a school, shops and the vehicle of the deputy commissioner in Tinsukia town, which forced the police to fire 16 rounds, the sources said.
The mob violence in the town, dominated by Hindi-speaking people, followed the discovery this morning of three bodies and the death of a person injured in an attack earlier, the sources said.
Several houses at Nandankanan Tea Estate and Chirapatty area near Lenkai Tea Estate were torched prompting imposition of night curfew in Duliajan.
The ULFA struck for the third time in the evening calling out a Marwari businessman and his two tenants near in Nalbari town and shot them dead, the sources said.
The militants critically injured the businessman's 10-year-old son.
In Tinsukia district, ten people have died so far with nine deaths reported today.
Three of a family were killed in Dholla, one died in police firing, while three bodies were recovered and another two deaths were reported in separate incidents.
Another person, who was attacked on Monday, succumbed to his injuries last night.
Prohibitory orders were promulgated in Guwahati as a precautionary measure, the sources said.
In Dibrugarh district, eight deaths were reported with six of a family gunned down last night and a labourer killed on Monday while a body was recovered from Duliajan during the day, the sources said.
In Dhubri district, ULFA militants killed four truck drivers last night while they were watching the India-Australia match.
Director General of Police P B Sumant and senior officials rushed to Tinsukia and DIbrugarh this evening.
Governors of Assam and Bihar Lt Gen (Retd) Ajai Singh and M Rama Jois respectively made a joint appeal tonight to people of both states to maintain peace and not to act in anger or cause immense damage to national unity for the sake of a small benefit.
"We are greatly pained and perturbed by the recent suicidal quarrel between Bihari and Assamese youths resulting in mutual killings and destruction of property," they said.
The governors said the fundamental right to equal opportunity was conferred on all citizens under article 18 in the matter of employment under the state. "We are bound by one Constitution, we have one national flag to hoist and protect, we have one national anthem and a national song," he said.
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said he had instructed the deputy commissioners and SPs in districts to deal firmly with the situation, which 'must improve within 24 hours'.
Appealing to the people to maintain restraint and not get carried away by rumours Gogoi said stern action would be taken against those indulging in violence and whisper campaigns.
Stating that anti-socials were trying to take advantage of the situation Gogoi urged Hindi-speaking people not to panic, as the authorities would take all measures to protect their lives and properties.
Meanwhile, an anguished Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi shot off a letter to Gogoi seeking effective steps against the perpetration of atrocities on Biharis.
RJD chief Laloo Prasad Yadav demanded the Centre send adequate paramilitary forces to Assam to end the killing of innocent Biharis.
He also demanded deployment of forces in Bihar after the spate of violent incidents triggered by the November 9 assault on Bihari students appearing for the Railway Recruitment Board exam in Assam.
More reports from Assam
Read about: Bihar vs Assam | Assam and the ULFA