Residents of Chetia Gaon in Golaghat district protest in front of the CRPF camp on Tuesday. Picture by UB Photos
Golaghat, Aug. 12: Two persons protesting the alleged kidnapping of two schoolboys from Assam, died when they ran into a hail of bullets fired by alleged miscreants from Nagaland this afternoon. The villagers were trying to escape CRPF batons.
Ajoy Gor and Philson Kujur, students of classes IX and X of Little Flower school in Golapani and residents of Chetia Gaon, a remote village in Uriamghat under Dhansiri subdivision of Golaghat district in Assam, have been missing since they went to adjacent Chandla Chung village in Nagaland on July 26.
Locals alleged that the boys had been kidnapped by miscreants in Chandla Chung and that the Golaghat district administration had not conducted any search operation to rescue the boys.
It is not known why the boys crossed the inter-state boundary but the locals said it was common practice to move to and from adjacent villages.
The situation turned volatile around 11am today when residents of Chetia Gaon and 15 nearby villages laid siege to the camp of 155 CRPF battalion posted at the village as a neutral force and shouted slogans against the force for its alleged negligence regarding the disappearance of the two boys. The CRPF has been posted in Sector B of Assam-Nagaland border to look into any law and order issues in the bordering areas.
When the CRPF jawans resorted to a lathicharge to disperse the mob, the protesters started running helter skelter in search of safety. Many of them were injured in the caning.
As the protesters fled the caning, some miscreants from Nagaland, fearing an attack on their village from the mob, allegedly started firing upon them, reports from Chetia Gaon said. Two protesters, Fosoi Gaur, 25, and Chintamoni Barhoi, 65, were killed in the firing.
The miscreants from Nagaland also set fire to 15 houses in the border villages of Assam, sources said. People from the bordering villages of Chetia Gaon, Ruman Basti, Tenpur, Lachit Gaon and Jahaji Basti in Assam are feeling their homes following the arson.
Golaghat district administration officials, including the superintendent of police Shiladitya Chetia and Dhansiri sub-divisional officer Deb Kumar Mishra, were tightlipped about the incident when this correspondent contacted them.
Officials have so far confirmed the death of only Gaur. The family members of Barhoi, a 65-year-old woman, confirmed her death to The Telegraph.
Assam home commissioner G.D. Tripathi said more forces have been rushed to the area and the police in all districts bordering Nagaland have been put on alert. He said one person had died while two were injured. “DIG (border) Anurag Agarwal has been sent to the area to supervise operations on the ground,” Tripathi said and added that he was in touch with his Nagaland counterparts to maintain peace.
Inspector-general of police (law and order) S.N. Singh told this correspondent from Tezpur that the Golaghat superintendent of police has reached the site. “Only neutral forces such as the CRPF can be deployed in the affected area but we have put our force on alert,” he said. Singh, who is in Tezpur to monitor the operation on the North Bank, visited Rangapara today.
The All Adivasi Students' Association of Assam (AASAA) has called a 12-hour Golaghat bandh tomorrow in protest against the killings.
Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi this evening asked parliamentary secretary Atuwa Munda and director-general of police A.P. Rout to visit the area. He asked chief secretary Jitesh Khosla to get in touch with his Nagaland counterpart and explore ways to defuse the tension in the bordering areas.
For administrative convenience, the Assam-Nagaland inter-state border area has been divided into six sectors — A, B, C, D, E and F — spread over the districts of Sivasagar, Jorhat, Golaghat and Karbi Anglong. Golaghat, Jorhat and Sivasagar districts share a 380km boundary with Nagaland. Both states have a running feud over the boundary.
The B Sector had witnessed one of the worst clashes between the two states on January 5, 1975, known as Chungajan carnage, where several villages such as Chungajan Tiniali and Chungajan Mikir in Assam were attacked. According to official records, 69 villagers were killed while 23,500 people of the area and its neighbourhood fled to safety. The Assam government had on Monday made a PowerPoint presentation to legislators, whose constituencies are located along the inter-states border, on the genesis of Assam’s border disputes with its neighbouring states.
The Arunachal Pradesh-Assam boundary is also tense after an encounter between Assam police and NDFB (S) militants in Sonitpur district.
NDFB (S) militants are involved in extortion, kidnapping and intimidation of local residents, including tea planters.
Sonitpur superintendent of police Sanjukta Parasar told this correspondent that two suspected militants roaming on a motorbike in the area had fired upon the police team. The police have recovered the Pulsar bike (AS-25A-4555).