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Assam riots: toll rises to 21; shoot-at-sight ordered
Sources said nearly 18 companies of paramilitary forces have been deployed in lower Assam to combat the situation.
Guwahati: Fresh incidents of arson in interior areas of Kokrajhar district were reported on Monday leading to shoot-at-sight orders, indefinite curfew and flag march by Army even as the toll in the ethnic violence Assam rose to 21.
Police said four more bodies were recovered during the day from Kokrajhar district. Of the total 21 deaths, Kokrajhar accounted for 17 while neighbouring four persons died in Chirang district, to where the violence between minority immigrants and Bodo tribals spread.
Police said fresh arson was reported from Fakiragram, Serfanguri, Narabari, Gossaigaon, Dotoma, Mokrajan and Tulsibari areas where miscreants set ablaze abandoned houses.
The Army had staged a flag march after incidents of arson in interior areas, particularly in abandoned houses of villagers who had fled in panic.
A major trouble was quelled by the Army and police when a group of more than 400 armed minority immigrants from Joypur tried to proceed towards Kokrajhar town. The police fired in the air and dispersed them.
In another incident miscreants set ablaze a camp of the disbanded Bodoland Liberation Tigers at Sapotgram where the police was forced to blank fire.
Shoot at sight and indefinite curfew has been ordered in Kokrajhar district, while night curfew is on in Chirang and Dhubri districts. Army has been deployed in Kokrajhar and Dhubri.
Official sources said nearly 18 companies of paramilitary forces have been deployed in lower Assam to combat the situation.
Sources in Kokrajhar and Chirang district administrations said more than 50,000 villagers are taking shelter in various relief camps.
In Kokrajhar district, nearly 40,000 victims have taken shelter in 35 relief camps set up by the government, while more than 10,000 victims have themselves taken shelter in various schools and government offices in Chirang as the government has not opened any official relief camp, official sources said.
Two senior ministers Rockybul Hussain and Nazrul Islam who are touring the troubled areas held a closed door meeting with officials of the affected districts.
Later talking to reporters, they appealed to the people to maintain communal harmony and assured that strict action will be taken against the miscreants.
"We are assuring from the government and the Bodoland Tribal Autonomous Districts (BTAD) side that all steps will be taken to provide security to the people of all communities. There is no need to panic," Hussain said.
Train service in the northeast has been adversely affected due to the ongoing violence in BTAD area in lower Assam, Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) said on Monday.
"In view of the serious law and order situation in lower Assam, running of trains have been affected and passengers are stranded in various stations," NFR chief public relation officer S Hajong said adding efforts are on to resume services.