Assam toll now 18, shoot at sight orders in Kokrajhar
Guwahati, July 23 (IANS) Communal violence in Assam's Bodoland area continued unabated in Kokrajhar and Chirang districts and also spread to new areas. With the toll now 18, the administration has issued shoot-at-sight orders in Kokrajhar and extended night curfew indefinitely in both districts.
Out of the 18 deaths, 14 were reported from Kokrajhar and four in Chirang.
"We have issued shoot-at-sight orders in Kokrajhar district. The night curfew which was on in both the districts had been extended for an indefinite period. So far, 14 people have died in Kokrajhar and four in Chirang," Inspector General of Police, Bodoland Territorial Area District, S.N. Singh told IANS.
"People have abandoned their houses and shifting to relief camps. Some miscreants from both the communities are also taking advantage of the situation and are setting the abandoned houses ablaze," he added.
The ongoing violence also spread to Dhubri district in Lower Assam Monday forcing the district administration to impose night curfew in certain pockets.
"Curfew had been imposed in some sensitive areas under five police stations in the district -Dhubri, Gouripur, Golakganj, Bilasipara and Chapar," Dhubri Deputy Commissioner K.C. Kalita told IANS.
The All Minority Students Union (AMSU) had also called a 24-hour shutdown in the district Monday in protest against the violent attacks of minority community in Kokrajhar and Chirang districts.
"Police had to resort to blank firing in Gouripur and Golakganj area of the district after some bandh supporters tried to close shops forcefully. Some of the bandh supporters also damaged the office of Bodoland Peoples' Front (BPF) in Gauripur town," said Dhubri Superintendent of Police Pradip Saloi.
BPF is ruling the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) which runs the administration of the BTAD areas.
Meanwhile, Assam Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain and Food and Civil Supplies Minister Nazrul Islam visited some of the violence-affected areas of Kokrajhar district Monday and reviewed the law and order situation.
Earlier in the day, an alert has been sounded in ten districts on the north bank of the Brahmaputra following communal violence in the Bodoland area, officials said Monday.
The army has been called in to help police and paramilitary forces in Kokrajhar and Chirang.
The National Disaster Response Force and the Assam Forest Protection Force are also being deployed in the districts to assist the civil and police officials.
According to official sources, the violence started after gunmen attacked two student leaders in Magurbari Thursday. Following this, four former Bodo militants were shot dead Friday.
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