The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mobs retreat, politics steps in
- Gogoi lashes out at BJP call for President’s rule on eve of Delhi assessment

Guwahati, Nov. 21: A high-level central team will arrive here tomorrow to take stock of the situation in violence-hit Assam even as political parties began their customary mud-slinging in the aftermath of the arson which left 29 dead and hundreds homeless.

Official sources said minister of state for home Swami Chinmayanand would arrive tomorrow for an assessment of the state’s law and order, which nosedived since last week in an apparent backlash to the attacks on Assamese train passengers in Bihar.

Barring a few “stray incidents” of arson and assault, Assam police described the scene as a “significant improvement” during the past 24 hours. Two persons — identified as Giridharilal Bhagat and Chandrasekhar — who were injured in mob attacks on Wednesday night in Tinsukia district succumbed to their injuries.

In the worst-hit Tinsukia town, curfew was lifted for three hours, from 11.30 am to 2.30 pm, to enable the people to buy essential commodities.

However, as a precautionary measure, the state government today clamped curfew in the state border with Nagaland following intelligence reports that Ulfa militants taking shelter in the neighbouring state might sneak in and strike at Hindi-speaking people’s settlements.

Sources said that the mob that attacked Hindi-speaking settlements at Dhola in Tinsukia was backed by Ulfa militants. A few members of the mob were armed with sophisticated weapons, sources said.

State home secretary B.M. Mazumdar said night curfew will remain in force in the other places — Barpeta, Nalbari, Moran, Tengakhat, Khowang, Namrup, Tingkhong and Duliajan.

The home secretary said that altogether 3,211 people have taken refuge in 11 relief camps opened in the districts of Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Barpeta and Kamrup (Metropolitan).

The chief minister today announced that the next of kin of each deceased would be given a compensation of Rs 1 lakh while those injured would be given Rs 20,000. Besides, Rs 20,000 will be provided to affected families to reconstruct their houses that were burnt down by miscreants.

Gogoi also flayed the BJP’s call for President’s rule in the state and pointed out that the demand has been raised at a time when the situation was fast returning to normal.

“The BJP does not want peace to come back. That is why the party raised the demand for President’s rule when the situation was fast returning to normal,” Gogoi said here today.

Gogoi was reacting to a demand raised by BJP president Venkaiah Naidu in New Delhi yesterday. “Why was Gujarat not put under President’s rule when the state witnessed the worst-ever communal violence communal riots for two months'” Gogoi asked.

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