Guwahati: The army
Wednesday staged a flag march in Assam's Bodoland Territorial
Areas District (BTAD) as there was no let-up in tension with three
more bodies recovered from Chirang district and five villages set
on fire. Police claimed the situation had improved in Kokrajhar
and Dhubri districts.
The army staged a flag march in the four districts of Kokrajhar,
Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri that comprise the BTAD. Kokrajhar and
Chirang have become a cauldron of communal tension since July 19
with 36 people killed and thousands rendered homeless in the
violence between the Bodos, who are tribals, and Bengali-speaking
Mobs continued to set fire to houses left vacant by thousands who
have fled to safer areas. On Tuesday night, five villages were set
on fire in Chirang district - Makhanguri, Goyaripara, Choirabari,
Majrabari and Bhaoraguri.
The indefinite curfew in Chirang was extended Wednesday, sources
Police claimed some improvement in the situation in Kokrajhar and
"There is a substantial improvement of situation in Kokrajhar and
Dhubri. However, Chirang still remained disturbed with reports of
more bodies being recovered from the district," Inspector General
of Police (Law and Order) L.R. Bishnoi told IANS Wednesday.
Bishnoi said 21 people had died in the communal clash in Kokrajhar
while another 15 people were killed in Chirang district since July
19 - when the violence started after the Bodos and the
Bengali-speaking Muslims attacked each other.
"Apart from this, four miscreants were gunned down by police in
Kokrajhar district on Tuesday," said Bishnoi.
Union Secretary (northeast) Sambhu Singh, who had visited the
violence-affected areas of Kokrajhar, ruled out any "Bangladeshi
hand" in the violence.
Earlier, the chief of the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), that
runs the administration in Assam's BTAD areas, claimed that
miscreants from Muslim community had entered the BTAD to attack
Sambhu Singh, however, regretted the government's failure to
deploy the army on the first day of violence.
"I agree that the situation would not have been so bad if we had
deployed the Army on the first day of the violence. But certain
things take time and that cannot be helped," he told reporters in
He said that enough security forces were there on the ground to
deal with the situation. "The 44 companies of additional forces,
which are on the way, will be deployed in the whole of the BTAD,"
"Confidence building among members of both the affected
communities is the major task before the administration now," he
A total of 13 columns of the army were deployed in the four
district of BTAD on Wednesday morning.
Sambhu Singh also instructed the administration to deploy more
forces for the smooth movement of trains.
He said that over one lakh people were displaced due to the
communal violence which mainly gripped two districts of BTAD and
said that efforts were on to send back the affected people safely.
Police said there were no reports of any fresh incident or
casualty from Kokrajhar Wednesday.
Curfew, which was relaxed for four hours in Kokrajhar from 8 a.m.
to noon, was extended indefinitely in the evening, police said.
Kokrajhar, Chirang and Dhubri share a contiguous landscape. While
Dhubri shares the border with Bangladesh in the south, Kokrajhar
and Chirang border Bhutan.
According to official sources, the violence started July 19 after
gunmen attacked two student leaders in Magurbari Thursday.
Following this, four former Bodo militants were shot dead.
Both the communities then began attacking each other, accusing
each other of orchestrating ethnic cleansing.