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Army stages flag march

- Tension continues to simmer along border

Golaghat, Aug. 21: The district administration today relaxed curfew in the Golaghat municipal area for four hours from 5pm following a two-hour meeting between the administration and representatives of seven agitating organisations in the presence of state PWD minister Ajanta Neog.

The curfew could be relaxed as the organisations agreed to withdraw the indefinite Golaghat district bandh they had called on Tuesday and since no fresh violence was reported from the district today.

It could be lifted from the entire district tomorrow morning if the situation permits, district information and public relations officer Anupjyoti Choudhury said.

The representatives of the seven organisations will meet chief minister Tarun Gogoi tomorrow with a seven-point charter of demands. The organisations are the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad, the All Tai Ahom Students’ Union, the Tai Ahom Yuva Parishad, the All Assam Tea Tribes Students’ Association, the All Adivasi Students’ Association, the All Assam Scheduled Caste Students Union and the Adivasi Oikyo Moncho.

The curfew relaxation brought relief to the people who have been confined in their homes for the last three days.

Partha Jyoti Bora, a resident, blamed the “indifference” and “hopelessness” of the district administration and the state government for the violence in an otherwise peaceful Golaghat. “If deputy commissioner Julie Sonowal could bring the situation under control in one meeting today, why did she not show the foresight to call for the same earlier,” he said.

Earlier in the day, the army conducted a flag march in all the three sub-divisions of the district — Bokakhat, Dhansiri and Golaghat.

When the army reached Telgorom, under Bokakhat subdivision and 30km from Golaghat town, the huge crowd of protesters, which was staging a blockade there on National Highway 39, started pelting stones at the convoy. The army brought the situation under control by holding talks with the protesters, who refused to talk to the police.

On Tuesday, a large police contingent, led by additional DGP A.P. Raut and Golaghat superintendent of police Shiladitya Chetia, had forcefully removed the indefinite blockade put up at Rangajan on NH 39 since August 12 in protest against the attack by alleged Naga militants on Assamese villagers in Uriamghat along the inter-state boundary.

Angry protesters yesterday set ablaze four vehicles and marched towards Golaghat town armed with bows, arrows and machetes. As the aggressive mob advanced towards the town and the situation threatened to spiral out of control, the police had to open fire, which left three persons dead.

To control the situation, the district administration clamped an indefinite curfew in Golaghat town and the Rangajan area and later enforced it in other parts of the district too.

The protesters, however, said they want Assam police to be deployed in the disputed boundary area as the CRPF, which is deployed there as a neutral force, had not taken any action when alleged Naga militants attacked Assamese people.

The Asam Sahitya Sabha today held the “indifference” of both Nagaland and Assam governments responsible for the violence. It also expressed dissatisfaction at the role played by the Centre in solving the issue. A delegation of the Sabha had recently visited the affected areas.

The All Assam Lawyers’ Association today filed a petition with the Assam Human Rights Commission, seeking compensation for the victims of the violence. The petition was filed by the association’s working president Rohini Kumar Das and general secretary Sailendra Das.

“AHRC chairperson Justice (retd) Aftab Hussain Saikia and member Tarun Phookan admitted our petition and gave us a patient hearing for about an hour. The commission issued a notice to the chief secretary of Assam, seeking a reply to our petition,” Sailendra Das told The Telegraph.

The Assam PCC has submitted a memorandum to Union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju, urging the Centre to ensure that the Nagaland government does not extend any tactical or silent support to the miscreants till the boundary dispute case pending in Supreme Court is disposed of.


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