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Protests in Assam, Cong MP's house set ablaze

Protests in Assam, Cong MP's house set ablaze

Protests over demand for separate states on the lines of Telangana have stepped up in Assam.

Diphu/Kokrajhar: With the army on flag march in Assam, the rubber estate and a house of Congress MP were set ablaze, while four persons were injured in police firing, as the demand for separate states on the lines of Telangana by several groups was stepped up on Friday. The army staged a flag march in violence-hit Karbi Anglong district in the afternoon after being called in by the civil administration, official sources said.

Train services across the state were affected by a 12-hour rail blockade called by different Bodo organizations to demand a separate Bodoland. Protesters removed six kilometre of railway tracks in the Diphu-Lumding section, but it was restored later though train services were yet to resume. The MP Biren Singh Engti's rubber garden and house, about seven kilometre from Diphu, was set on fire by miscreants who also felled trees, the sources said.

There was no casualty as there was nobody in the house of the Congress MP, who represents the Autonomous Hill district constituency, at the time. The police opened fire in the district to disperse a mob in which four persons were injured with the condition of two stated to be critical, the sources said. At Donkamakom under Hamrem sub-division a mob ransacked a police outpost and attacked policemen demanding the release of seven arrested youths, they said.

A post office and an office of the hand-loom and textile department at Dolamara and a PHED office in Howraghat were attacked, the sources said. Also set ablaze was a bus of the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council and a PWD inspection bungalow at Umlalfera area. Assam IGP (Law and Order) S N Singh who held a meeting at Diphu to take stock of the prevailing situation, said that five additional companies of security forces were expected to arrive soon while two companies were deployed.

Singh said preventive arrests were being made to bring the situation under control and to prevent further violence. The President of Karbi Students' Association Laiseng Engleng was arrested for inciting violence. Seven others were arrested from Dokmoka area taking the total number of arrests to 18 since the outbreak of violence in the hill district.

Parliamentary Secretary (Home) Etuwa Munda rushed to the district with an appeal to the people to maintain peace and not to damage government property. The All Bodo student's Union along with NDFB (Progressive), All Bodo Womens' Federation, Bodo Sahitya Sabha, Bodo Peoples' Progressive Front and others sat on railway tracks with placards at the Kokrajhar railway station since early morning with no train either entering or leaving.

Tight security was imposed on railway stations in Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Chirang, Baksa, Nalbari and Kamrup districts. The All Koch Rajbongshi Students' Union, which has called a 36-hour bandh since yesterday demanding a separate Kamtapur state, also resorted to violence setting ablaze a vehicle in Gossaigaon.