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Dispur seeks more forces

- Intelligence reports warn of post-result violence in BTAD

Guwahati, May 8: Dispur has moved the Centre seeking 50 additional companies of security personnel to meet any untoward situation following declaration of the Lok Sabha election results on May 16.

The request for more forces was made given reports of the possibility of post-result violence in the state, especially in the BTAD, which remains peaceful but tense.

The official death toll in the carnage went up to 40 with the recovery of a boy’s body from the Beki river in the Moinabari area today but there has been no fresh violence for the past four days. Curfew was relaxed for 12 hours in trouble-torn Baksa and Kokrajhar districts.

Chief minister Tarun Gogoi today said additional forces have been requisitioned to prevent any repeat of the unrest witnessed recently in the BTAD after declaration of results. Already 34 companies have been deployed in the BTAD. “We are preparing to meet any eventuality,” he said.

Sources in the chief minister’s office said the government had faxed a request to the Union home ministry, and state home commissioner G.D. Tripathi was in “constant” touch with joint secretary (Northeast) Shambhu Singh. Intelligence reports, they said, suggested that any outbreak of violence in the BTAD linked to the poll result could spread to other areas.

The burning down of 15 shops by miscreants in the wee hours today at Panpur and Sahpur in the Sorbhog area of Barpeta district, bordering Baksa district which is returning to normal, only fuelled such fears though police ruled out any link with the BTAD incidents.

Besides requisitioning 50 additional companies, Dispur has also alerted the district administration to check goons from adding ethnic and communal colour to any incident.

Gogoi said a special force would be set up to recover illegal arms and provide security in the vulnerable areas of the BTAD. “It will have a local component. The modalities will be worked out. We will also set up a rehabilitation commission in the state for prompt relief to the affected,” he added.

Sources said though Dispur had received a warning about post-result disturbances, a public announcement by senior cabinet minister Himanta Biswa Sarma about such a possibility and about his appeal to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for intervention saw the administration declare the steps it was considering to instil confidence among the people. The Kokrajhar unit of Jana Jati Suraksha Samittee and members of Scheduled Tribes today demanded that the probe into the BTAD mayhem should not be restricted to the militant angle but also cover the political angle.

Survivors of the violence in the Bodoland Territorial Areas District (BTAD) have claimed the involvement of the BPF, which runs the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) and is part of the Congress-led coalition government at Dispur. The BTAD is governed by the BTC.

Welcoming investigation by the NIA in the BTAD killings and seizure of illegal arms from the Bodo area, samitee and ST members said the role of Oboro (non-Bodo) organisations could not be ignored. They said the latter’s goal was to dilute the BTC (formed under the Sixth Schedule) by introducing the panchayati raj. They urged a probe against Naba (alias Hira) Sarania, the consensus candidate of Sanmilito Jonogosthiyo Oikyo Moncho from Kokrajhar constituency. They said the Ulfa leader, who did not have a valid surrender certificate, was “likely to maintain some of his followers under his command with sufficient unsurrendered weapons”.

Child rights panel

The chairperson of Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Runumi Gogoi, today expressed unhappiness over the condition of children in the relief camp at Narayanguri in Baksa district.

During her visit to the camp today, she struggled to get the exact figure of child inmates in the camp and their status after the carnage in the Narayanguri area.

Altogether 62 families of Nonke Khagrabari, a part of Narayanguri, are taking shelter in the camp since the carnage of May 2. Eleven children were killed in attacks in three villages, Nonke Khagrabari and Narayanguri in Baksa district and Balapara in Kokrajhar district in the attacks since May 1.

Of the 11 children missing, the bodies of nine have been recovered in the past two days, taking the death toll of children in the attacks in the BTAD to 20.


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