Guwahati: Sharing the
"pain" of Assam riots victims, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Saturday called for an immediate end to the violence and promised
"a proper inquiry" into the clashes that have claimed 45 lives and
left lakhs homeless.
Manmohan Singh, who reached Kokrajhar earlier in the day to visit
relief camps for victims of the clashes between Bodos and Muslims,
also appealed to the people of the state to foster peace.
"The ethnic conflict which has occurred is unacceptable and must
come to a stop," the prime minister said in his interaction with
the media following a visit to a relief camp where around 1,500
people driven out of their homes are staying at present.
"I have come here to share your sorrow and pain. This is a time
for healing...this is no time for recriminations. We need to first
help the people to rehabilitate and bring peace," he said.
To a query, the prime minister, who is a member of the Rajya Sabha
from Assam, said: "Yes, there will be a proper inquiry into the
circumstances of these tragic incidents."
Announcing a total of Rs.300 crore in aid and relief for the riot
victims and the violence-hit areas, he also noted: "We must
address causes of the conflict. We will work closely with state
government to provide sense of security to all the effected areas,
ensuring that they all go back to their houses in the knowledge
that their lives and livelihood are secure."
Manmohan Singh also announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs.2 lakh
from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund to the kin of those
people who had lost their lives in the violence. The injured
persons will also be paid Rs.50,000 to Rs.30,000 depending on the
nature of their injury.
Kokrajhar and Chirang, which form the Bodoland Territorial Area
District (BTAD) along with Baksa and Udalguri districts, were
severely hit the past week after clashes broke out between the
dominant Bodos and the Bengali-speaking Muslim settlers since July
19. The violence soon spread to contiguous Dhubri and Baksa
The violence has till now claimed the lives of 45 people and a
estimated 2.5 lakh people have been rendered homeless.
Manmohan Singh is accompanied on his Assam visit by Congress
leader Digvijay Singh.
He had earlier in the day arrived in Guwahati and left by a
helicopter to Kokrajhar district. However, his helicopter had to
initially return to Guwahati and he could reach Kokrajhar only in
the second attempt.
Indian Air Force sources said the first attempt to reach Kokrajhar
was aborted due to a minor technical snag in the helicopter.
However, the same chopper had got airborne with the prime minister
on board after the snag was rectified and had reached Kokrajhar,
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and Governor J.B. Patnaik too
joined the prime minister on his visit to the riot-hit parts of
the state, where he also visited two relief camps and met victims,
civilian officials, police and the army troops that are at present
The prime minister also spoke to Bodo Territorial Council chief
Hagrama Mohilary and Kokrajhar MP S.K. Bwiswamuthiary after the
Meanwhile, a delegation of the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF)
led by its chief Badaruddin Ajmal met the prime minister at the
Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport and asked him to
step up efforts for the safety and security of people in the
Ajmal submitted a memorandum to the prime minister, urging him to
dissolve the Bodoland Territorial Council that runs the
administration in four districts on the ground of total breakdown
of law and order in two districts.