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Assam death toll rises to 17, army called in

Assam death toll rises to 17, army called in
The death toll in the communal violence in Assam's Bodoland area rose to 17 on Sunday even as the violence spread to Chirang district. The army has been pressed into service to assist the security forces.

A statement issued by the Assam government Sunday evening said that the 14 people have been killed so far and nine others injured due to the incidents of violence between two communities in the two districts of Kokrajhar and Chirang under the Bodoland Territorial Areas District (BTAD).

The statement further informed that there were seven incidents of violence took place in both the districts

More than 26,000 people have taken shelter in 36 relief camps in Kokrajhar district, it said.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has also instructed the state Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain and Food and Civil Supplies Minister Nazrul Islam to visit the violence-hit areas on Monday.

Inspector General of Police, BTAD, S.N. Singh said that the situation has improved since 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,' Singh said. While police recovered three bodies from near the Gourang river in Kokrajhar district Sunday morning, two people died and three others were injured after unidentified gunmen opened indiscriminate fire at Mongolian Bazar under in Chirang district.

Police, however, initially termed the Mongolian Bazaar incident as an isolated incident.

'In another incident, three people were abducted on Sunday from a passenger vehicle in Chirang district close to Kokrajhar. This might be an isolated incident also we are not taking any chances and an investigation is on,' Singh said.

Kokrajhar and Chirang fall under BTAD's jurisdiction.

The night curfew (6 pm to 6 am) imposed Friday in Kokrajhar was still on, Deputy Commissioner Donald Gilsellon said.


Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Sunday directed the concerned district authorities to take 'stern measures' to check the violence which has left 14 dead in Lower Assam's two Bodoland Territorial Administered Districts (BTAD) of Kokrajhar and Chirang.

'We condemn the violence in the district strongly and urge the authorities to take strong measures to stop the violence. We do not want to define it as a group clash but as mischief by a group of miscreants', Gogoi told reporters here on Sunday. Tourism and Transport Minister Chandan Brahma was already camping in Kokrajhar district, while Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain and Food and Civil Supplies Minister Nazrul Islam were scheduled to go there tomorrow to take stock of the situation, he added. The Chief Minister said that he has also directed the police, army and paramilitary to take all possible measures to prevent further outbreak of violence.

'We are maintaining a keen watch on the situation. The Chief Secretary and Home Commissioner were closely monitoring the situation', he added. The Centre has been requested to send additional companies of para-military forces to the state and five had already reached, he said. 'Peace committees have been already constituted and they are monitoring the situation. I appeal to all sections of people not to give any credence to any kind of rumour which has led to escalation of violence,' he added.

The next of kin of those who have died in the attack have been given an ex-gratia payment of Rs three lakh each, while the injured have been given Rs 50,000 each.
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