From our Correspondent &
By our Staff Reporter
KOKRAJHAR/GUWAHATI, July 22: The death toll in the communal violence in Kokrajhar district rose to 12 on Sunday with police recovering three more bodies. The army has been pressed into service to assist the security forces in 31 sensitive areas of the district. Two people were killed by miscreants at the Mongolian Bazaar under Bijni Police Station in Chirang district.
About 10, 000 people were reported to be affected in the aftermath of the incident. Many people are fleeing their homes and taking shelter in relief camps or moving to other safer places.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has urged the Union Home Minister to send 25 additional security units to Kokrajhar for maintenance of law and order. Two State ministers Rockybul Hussain and Najrul Islam will visit the strife-torn district tomorrow.
“The situation has improved since yesterday (Saturday) but it is still tense. Army has been pressed into service and they are assisting the police and paramilitary forces throughout the Kokrajhar district,” said a top police official of the Bodoland Territorial Areas District (BTAD).
The police official said there had not been any fresh incident of violence in the district. Three people were abducted on Sunday from a passenger vehicle in Chirang district close to Kokrajhar, he added.
Kokrajhar and Chirang fall under BTAD jurisdiction.
Kokrajhar Deputy Commissioner Donald Gilfellon said the whole district had been divided into 31 sectors based on sensitive areas. He said 6 company and 2 platoons of paramilitary forces had arrived in the district. “The deployment process is on in all the sectors,” said Gilfellon.
Gilfellon also urged the media not to sensitize the issue while reporting and broadcasting the incident for the welfare of the people. “The night curfew (6 p.m. to 6 a.m.) imposed on Friday in Kokrajhar is still on.”
State Transport and Tourism Minister Chandan Brahma maintained that though the situation is very sensitive, it is under control except few sporadic incidents. “Communal riot will bring nothing to both the communities,” he said urging every organization to play a lead role in controlling the situation before it goes out of hand.
Meanwhile, the affected people staying in relief camps demanded safety of their lives and properties.
Bima Narzary who took shelter in the Sukhanjhora SK Jeoari LP School said they had to leave all their belongings at home. “We can’t go anywhere as all the areas are vulnerable,” she said.
She blamed the political leaders for failing to protect the people in this crisis. She criticized the police administration for failing to provide adequate security in the vulnerable villages.
Meanwhile, the Kokrajhar District Magistrate has relaxed the Section 144 of the CrPC from 12 noon to 6 pm but the order will be in force from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. every day until further notification.
A fear psychosis is prevailing in Kokrajhar district as more fresh incidents are reported to have taken place in certain pockets of the district. The BTC leaders and MLAs have been visiting the affected places and taking stock of the situation.
In a fresh incidence, the Onthaibari Brahma Mondir and a school in Gossaigaon subdivision were set ablaze by the minority community last night. On the other hand, two more dead bodies were fished out from the Gaurang river on Sunday.
On the other hand, Deputy Chief of BTC Kampa Borgoyary, at a press meet held at the BPF office on Sunday, condemned the communal violence which broke out in Kokrajhar. “The Bodo and the Muslims have been living together peacefully over the years in the district but due to the instigation of some vested interest groups, the clashes started,” said Borgoyary.
The Borosa Foundation for Peace, Democracy and Human Rights (BFPDHR) has also expressed its serious concern over the incident.
Considering the prevailing situation in Kokrajhar district, the Chirang district administration has taken up precautionary measures to control such violence in the district.
The All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) president, Pramod Bodo, said the State Government had failed to control the violence in Kokrajhar district. BJP Assam unit president Ranjit Dutta also slammed the State Government for failing provide adequate security cover in the district. AGP president PK Mahanta said, “Due to the wrong policies of the State Government, Kokrajhar district is facing such a situation.”
The AIUDF general secretary, Aminul Islam, said the State Government should not politicize the issue and take every possible step to defuse the crisis.