Curfew on in Kokrajhar, no fresh violence
Curfew continued Friday in Kokrajhar area of Assam's Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD), where violence has claimed the lives of six people since Nov 10.
The army, which has been called in to help police in containing the law and order situation, has been carrying out flag marches at all the sensitive places in the district - particularly in and around Kokrajhar town and in areas under the Gosaigaon subdivision in the district.
No incidents had been reported from anywhere in the district in the last 24 hours. However, curfew was still in force in the district as a precautionary measure, Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) S.N. Singh told IANS.
Assam Director General of Police Jayanta Narayan Choudhury also reviewed the situation. State Industry and Commerce Minister Pradyut Bordoloi and senior officials were expected to visit the region.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had called up Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi late Thursday over the situation in BTAD and assured him of all possible help in containing the situation.
Although the immediate reason behind the violence is yet to be ascertained, locals believe it is a backlash from the clashes between the Bodos and Bengali-speaking Muslim settlers in July-August this year in which more than 100 people were killed and close to five lakh people in Kokrajhar, Chirang and Dhubri districts displaced.
The violence started Saturday last week (Nov 10), when suspected militants attacked a group of farmers at Bazugaon under Gosaigaon police station in Kokrajhar district. A man called Ainul Haque was killed and police recovered another body from Anthaibari area in the district. Two days later, on Nov 12, another man was shot dead. In the two days that followed, two more people were killed.
Again, on Thursday, tension escalated with suspected cadres of the anti-talk faction of the Bodo militant outfit National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) injuring one person at the weekly market in Kokrajhar town. Suspected militants also gunned down a man called Nirisan Basumatary at Telipara under Gosaigaon subdivision.
Gogoi had indicated that the NDFB faction was behind the incidents of violence.
IGP Singh said five columns of the army had been deployed - two in Kokrajhar and three in Gosaigaon subdivision - and additional central paramilitary forces were also moving into the district.
"Police have arrested 37 people so far and detained some more for their alleged involvement in the violence," he said.
Security forces in the area, he said, had also been searching for illegal arms and ammunition belonging to former militants in Kokrajhar and other BTAD areas. A total of 70 pieces of arms had been recovered since July this year.