Situation in Bodoland peaceful: Assam
Indefinite curfew, clamped in the restive Kokrajhar district in Assam's Bodoland region, was relaxed for the second consecutive day Monday as no incident of fresh violence was reported in the last 24 hours, an official said. Ten people have been killed since Nov 10.
The curfew was relaxed from 8 a.m. till 4 p.m. Monday in Kokrajhar in the Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD). There is no let up in the security arrangements around the district and the army flag march continued in the sensitive areas of the district, the official said.
"We can say that the situation in BTAD - particularly in Kokrajhar district - is peaceful now but it is still sensitive. We cannot think of lifting the curfew immediately due to security reasons," an official told IANS.
"We are planning to lift the curfew during the day but it will be re-imposed during the night so that perpetrators of violence cannot take advantage of the situation," he said.
At least 10 people have been killed by suspected militants in Kokrajhar and another one in neighbouring Baksa district since Nov 10 after violence started in the district.
The police in the district have arrested one executive member (EM) of the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) - an elected autonomous council which runs the administration in the four districts of BTAD - after recovery of two AK series rifles, two magazines and live ammunitions from his possession.
Three districts - Kokrajhar, Chirang and Dhubri - had earlier this year witnessed violence between ethnic Bodos and Bengali-speaking Muslim settlers, killing over 100 people and rendering over four lakh people homeless.
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had earlier said that large number of illegal weapons, which are present in BTAD, are one of the major reasons behind the fresh violence and hinted involvement of some 'leaders' behind it.
Sources in the state home department Monday said the intensified operation against illegal arms is continuing in Kokrajhar and other districts of the BTAD and that over 100 arms, including automatic weapons, have already been recovered from the troubled BTAD region.
"We had requested the centre to send five companies of additional forces to assist the police in the operation against illegal arms and ammunition and they arrived in Kokrajhar today (Monday)," sources said, while adding that another five companies is expected to reach Assam soon.
Meanwhile, the arrest of the BTC's executive member has angered the Bodoland Peoples' Front (BPF), an ally of the ruling Congress government in Assam - which runs the administration in the region.
The BPF has threatened of snapping ties with the Congress, a move which will not affect the ruling party immediately as it has the required number in the ssembly, experts said.
The move might affect the ruling party in the long run - ahead of the panchayat polls early next year and the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.