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3 killed, curfew in Assam areas as cops stop rampaging mob with bullets

Golaghat/Jorhat, Aug 20 (PTI): Three persons were killed and six injured here Wednesday when police opened fire on a mob that was allegedly out to destroy government offices to protest the way police had assaulted unarmed civilians who had blocked a highway over a border dispute with Nagaland.

Initially, police fired tear gas shells to control the mob of over 1,000 people at Erengapara Chariali in Golaghat town marching to the deputy commissioner’s office and police station to set them on fire.

When the protestors began throwing stones at the police and werec close to the buildings, the police opened fire killing three persons and injuring six.

Golaghat district’s police chief Siladitya Chetia told reporters that the police tried to halt the protestors by following standard procedure, but had to open fire to control the situation.

“Police had to take action as the mob was targeting public service and public utility buildings and Kushal Konwar Civil Hospital in the town,” he said.

”Also, civilians were injured in stone-pelting by the protestors, warranting the firing,” he said.

The incident happened when local TV news channels were beaming live the situation in the area.

Earlier in the day, protestors armed with bamboo sticks attacked a police patrol on NH-37 at Moinapara in Golaghat injuring an assistant sub-inspector and two constables and set ablaze a police vehicle and three trucks, police said.

The protestors told reporters that the police and the Central Reserve Police Force had dragged residents out their homes on Tuesday, and fired upon civilians.

Mobs also blocked the highway at Borsapori, Borjuri and Kuruwabahi early Wednesday with burning tyres and tree branches.

The demonstrators, shouting slogans against Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, said they would continue with their protests against the “unprovoked” police action till the government protected them against attacks from Nagaland.

Gogoi, on his part, accused Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh of failing to provide security along the state's border with Nagaland and that the Centre was not taking the violence seriously.

”Yes, I am responsible as the state CM for what is happening along the border. But why are you not blaming Rajnath Singh?” he asked.

The Assam-Nagaland border, he said, was a disputed subject and the area was controlled by the Centre with the help of CRPF, a 'neutral' force that had 'failed' to provide security to the people and properties there.

The Centre, he charged, is not taking the issue 'seriously'.

He condemned the police action against protesters at Rangajan on Tuesday and said the government will order an inquiry. “A few policemen might be at fault but for that the entire force cannot be blamed. The Assam police is still one of the best police forces in the country.”

”People in the border still have confidence in Assam Police and not in the central force. They want replacement of the CRPF by Assam Police ... If the border is given to me, I will show how to protect people,” Gogoi claimed.


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