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Dispur to recommend CBI probe

Guwahati/Golaghat, Aug. 22: Dispur today decided to recommend a CBI inquiry into the Assam-Nagaland boundary flare-up as Golaghat district, rocked by the violence, gradually returned to normal with relaxation of curfew.

The state government’s decision to entrust the case to the CBI was announced by chief minister Tarun Gogoi during a meeting with leaders of seven organisations spearheading the protests at Golaghat, at his residence in Guwahati this evening. An official communiqué was also issued by the chief minister’s office in this regard.

Dispur will urge the Centre for a thorough probe by the CBI into the recent happenings along the Assam-Nagaland boundary in the wake of the kidnapping of two students allegedly by Naga miscreants on June 26 and its aftermath, the communiqué stated. The state government has already ordered a probe by an officer of the rank of additional chief secretary and also announced that a judicial inquiry would be conducted into the border violence and subsequent protests.

The seven organisations whose leaders attended the meeting are the Assam Tea Tribes Students’ Association, All Adivasi Students’ Association, All Tai Ahom Students’ Union, Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad, Tai Ahom Yuva Parishad, Chah Janajati Adivasi Jatiya Oikya Moncho and Anusachita Jati Chatra Santha.

Assam forest minister Rakibul Hussain, PWD minister Ajanta Neog, Koliabor MP Gaurav Gogoi, principal secretary to the chief minister M.G.V.K Bhanu, commissioner and secretary (home and political) G.D. Tripathi and director-general of police Khagen Sarma were also present.

In a statement issued this afternoon, Gogoi announced Rs 5 lakh each to the next of kin of those killed in police firing and Rs 50,000 to those seriously injured. He also announced Rs 5 lakh to the next of kin of Ajit Tanti, who died after being run over by a speeding truck while fleeing police lathicharge on Tuesday.

Two persons had died on the spot while another had succumbed to injuries in the police firing at Arengapara, the entrance to Golaghat town, on Wednesday. They have been identified as Raju Rajak, Tiffil Jojwar and Gakul Boraik.

Fifteen people were injured in the firing. One has been discharged and the rest are undergoing treatment at KK Civil Hospital, Golaghat, Jorhat Medical College and Hospital, Assam Medical College, Dibrugarh, and Gauhati Medical College and Hospital. Barring one, the condition of the injured is reported to be stable.

Gogoi had already announced an ex gratia of Rs 8 lakh each to the next of kin of those who died in the border violence in Uriamghat, bordering Nagaland, on August 12 and 13. The Golaghat administration released nine names today — Ajay Orang, 25, Africa Toppo, 60, Joko Tirki, 55, Jiten Khalkho, 70, Mika Ekka, 45, Anthony Kerketa, 65, Nister Minj, 45, Birbal Munda, 70, and Dilram Kujur, 60. The administration has pegged the official toll at nine since nine bodies have been recovered so far.

Unofficial sources said over 15 people have been killed. Gogoi also promised to provide adequate compensation to the people displaced in the violence and rehabilitate them at the earliest.

Bipul Das, the magistrate who has been deputed to look after the rehabilitation, told The Telegraph that they had undertaken a survey and identified 16 villages as affected in the recent carnage in the border area. He said the survey found 573 houses had been damaged. About 8,032 people — 2,660 men, 3,573 women, 350 children in the age group of three, 549 children in the age group of 3-6 years and 900 children above six years of age — are housed in 13 relief camps.

Gogoi said the government had taken steps to augment security to instil confidence among the affected. He said he had personally taken up the matter with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Rajnath Singh and had sought additional companies of the CRPF for rapid deployment in the disputed area belt along with new security pickets in the affected villages.

He said both Assam and Nagaland had fruitful talks at the chief ministerial and official level yesterday to restore peace and tranquillity along the inter-state boundary.

The indefinite curfew imposed in Golaghat district on Wednesday was relaxed for the entire day today in Dhansiri and Golaghat subdivisions. It was re-enforced from 9pm with the army keeping strict vigil. The curfew was, however, completely withdrawn from Bokakhat subdivision as National Highway 37 passes through it and no major incidents had occurred there, Golaghat district information and public relations officer Anupjyoti Choudhury said.