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Curfew clamped in Kokrajhar
Toll rises to 6, one hurt

Kokrajhar/Guwahati, Nov. 15: Kokrajhar district continued to be on the boil today, with one person shot dead and another injured in two separate incidents this morning, forcing the administration to impose indefinite curfew.

The body count since Saturday rose to six today after a vegetable vendor of Sahajuri village was shot dead at Tilipara under Gossaigaon sub-division around 7.30 this morning. He was on his way to West Bengal (5km away) on a bicycle when two motorcycle-borne youths fired at him from close range, killing him on the spot.

Another vegetable vendor was injured after being stabbed at Kokrajhar weekly market in the heart of this town around 9am. A resident of Bilasipara in Dhubri district, the vendor was selling vegetables when he got into an argument with three unidentified persons, who subsequently stabbed him.

He was rushed to Kokrajhar RNB civil hospital. The incident occurred just 50 metres from Kokrajhar police station and barely 10 metres from a police picket.

Activities in the market stopped for a brief period, with people running helter-skelter after the incident. Announcement of the curfew, however, forced vendors to close shop. People were seen hurrying back home from offices and markets and worried parents rushed to school to pick up their children after curfew was announced.

The situation has compelled chief minister Tarun Gogoi to direct director-general of police J.N. Choudhury to deal firmly with trouble mongers and report directly to him from ground zero. Gogoi also discussed with GoC, 4 Corps, C.A. Krishnan the situation and the steps required to restore law and order in BTAD. Krishnan informed Gogoi that he would visit BTAD tomorrow to assess the prevailing situation first hand. The army is already deployed in vulnerable areas.

Besides the DGP, Gogoi also rushed power minister Pradyut Bordoloi to Kokrajhar. Parliamentary secretaries (home) Rana Goswami and Bhupen Bora are already camping there.

Bordoloi met BTC chief Hagrama Mohilary and district administration officials and senior police officers and discussed the situation.

Bordoloi said the situation was under control and the incidents had occurred in vulnerable isolated areas and not in the entire district. He said the state government had initiated measures to seize all illegal arms, while appealing to people to maintain peace and harmony and not believe in rumours.

The fresh round of violence has also attracted the attention of the Centre, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh enquiring about the situation from the chief minister this evening.

The chief ministerís office said Singh took stock of the situation and also the steps taken to contain the violence. Singh said vested forces were creating disturbances in certain areas to destabilise the country and they needed to be dealt with firmly.

Sources said as part of its measures to contain violence, Dispur has strengthened security around railway tracks and will try to manage the situation with the 63 additional companies of additional security forces which came in wake of the July riots through rational deployment of the personnel.

Assam PCC vice-president Y.L. Karna also visited the district today.