AGP members burn an effigy of Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi on Friday to protest against the law and order situation in the BTAD. Picture by UB Photos
Guwahati/Kokrajhar, Nov. 16: Dispur today requested the Centre to allot more paramilitary personnel to help check violence in BTAD, where a woman was seriously injured after being shot at this evening.
Sources in the chief minister’s office told The Telegraph that the request was made following discussions between the ministry of home affairs and state home department on the unfolding situation in Kokrajhar district soon after talks between chief minister Tarun Gogoi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last evening.
“Since we had already taken every step suggested by the Centre to contain the violence, we said it would help if we got another 10 companies of additional forces. The Centre has been very supportive towards our efforts. It had allotted us 63 companies in August,” a source said. A company has around 100 personnel.
The demand for additional forces may have been prompted by the activities of a section within the NDFB’s Ranjan Daimary faction led by Sirsing Ingty alias I.K. Songbijit, on the north bank of the Brahmaputra and Ulfa protesting the deaths in Majuli.
The MHA has advised Dispur to launch a crackdown against the NDFB-R and also in Dima Hasao to prevent a repeat of BTAD-like situation there, sources said.
In Kokrajhar, director-general of police J.N. Choudhary expressed concern over the presence of illegal weapons in the violence-prone areas.
Talking to reporters after a closed-door review meeting with senior civil and security officials, including the army and paramilitary forces, at the Kokrajhar circuit house, Choudhary said, “Our major concern is weapons, both factory-made and countrymade.”
He said the number could be over 100 in case of factory-made sophisticated arms. “There are two types of arms — sophisticated ones brought from Dimapur and the locally-made ones, which are more in number. The number, however, cannot be estimated.”
He said operations to seize the illegal arms had been intensified.
Sources in Guwahati said several weapons, including nine AK-47s, had been seized since August 15.
A senior police officer in Kokrajhar said, “Both sides are using illegal arms in attacks and counter-attacks as seen in recent incidents.”
On the licensed arms, Choudhary said, “We have already asked the deputy commissioner for a review and asked for the figure. We are told that that the number has increased in recent times.”
He, however, said there was no evidence of licensed arms being used in the recent violence.
Regarding the current spate of violence, Choudhary said, “If you look at what happened after July, these are isolated incidents. We are ensuring there is no repeat of July.”
Six persons have been killed and six others injured since fresh violence broke out on Saturday, the latest attack being on a woman at Bamungaon Part III village under Kokrajhar police station this evening.
The woman was seriously injured and rushed to hospital after assailants shot at her.
Senior police officials have rushed to the spot.
Altogether 85 pickets have been set up in sensitive areas, with curfew remaining in force.
Highhandedness of the police was also reported from various places.
The employees of the Kokrajhar deputy commissioner’s office protested and boycotted work today after two employees, Radhesam Rai, an office peon attached to the DC, and Bishnu Barua, a senior assistant, were allegedly beaten up by policemen on their way to office.
Rai said he was beaten up despite showing his identity card to the police.
The employees resumed work only after the deputy commissioner intervened.
Ex-MLA and Assam Football Association president Hemendranath Brahma was also detained for violation of curfew. Cancellation of Bodo literary day programmes, which are held on November 16 in connection with the foundation day of Bodo Sahitya Sabha, was also ordered in many places of Kokrajhar because of the curfew. Kokrajhar Press Club was also forced to cancel the National Press Day programme scheduled for today.
Kokrajhar deputy commissioner Jayant Narlikar said curfew was being strictly imposed.
“We will think about relaxation tomorrow.”