The Telegraph
Thursday , November 15 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Kokrajhar situation turns ‘critical’

Kokrajhar/Guwahati, Nov. 14: Two more persons, including a schoolteacher, were killed in separate incidents in Kokrajhar district since last night, compelling officials to admit that the tension had risen to a “critical” level and would affect the ongoing rehabilitation process.

The toll in this fresh round of violence that erupted on Saturday has gone up to five in the district, leaving local officials and those affected fearing a re-run of the July riots that left over 100 dead and over 4 lakh affected.

Though security has been intensified in Kokrajhar and its neighbouring districts, the residents, especially in vulnerable areas, are not satisfied with the existing security measures. “We are living in constant fear. The security provided to us is not enough. Even the local police and security forces are a worried lot, saying the situation is very volatile and even asking us this morning to demand more security from higher authorities,” said a villager taking shelter at Tulsibil Lower Primary School.

Asaruddin Sheikh, a schoolteacher, was killed and another teacher, I. Ahmed, injured when unidentified gunmen fired at them at Kachugaon in Gossaigaon subdivision of Kokrajhar district around 3pm today. The two teachers were sitting near the Block Mission Coordination Office, Kachugaon, when the assailants came on a motorcycle and fired at them.

Official sources told The Telegraph that the fresh incidents would delay rehabilitation of the remaining relief camp inmates. “Senior police officials are camping in Kokrajhar along with parliamentary secretaries (home) Bhupen Kumar Borah and Rana Goswami. The two have held meetings with the senior local police officials on how to control the situation. But there is no denying the fact that the tension has risen to a critical level. A third force seems to be operating against the peace process,” one of them said.

Today’s killing followed last evening’s twin attacks at Salbari Nakargaon and Nalbari Betagaon, both under Kokrajhar police station, in which a woman was killed and three others injured. Two women were injured at Salbari Nakargaon after being attacked around 9.30pm. One of them later died at the Chapar hospital. In the Betagaon incident, two persons, including a woman, were injured.

Sensing the gravity of the situation, chief minister Tarun Gogoi today directed the director-general of police and senior police officials to deal with the latest violence in BTAD areas with an iron hand.

In a meeting held at his official residence today, where the latest violence in BTAD figured prominently, Gogoi told the officials that if required, they could take the help of the army and paramilitary forces to bring the situation under control.

The chief minister said the latest violence was the handiwork of certain forces trying to foment disturbances in BTAD, which was returning to normal. Vigil should be stepped up to foil the sinister designs of these forces, he said, appealing to people to remain alert to foil the nefarious designs of these forces and to maintain peace and harmony at any cost.

Baksa killing

A labourer was killed and two others injured when unidentified gunmen fired at them at Golagaon under Simla police station in Baksa last night.

Sources said the gunmen stormed a makeshift camp where the labourers, working at a bridge construction site, were sleeping and fired indiscriminately, injuring them grievously.

The deceased, Nikleswar Barman, succumbed to his injuries in hospital while the other two — Lankeswar Barman and Pratap Singh — are undergoing treatment with injuries on their legs.

Officials of Sri Balaji Construction, the company building the bridge, said they had not received any demand from any outfit.

Police recovered nine empty AK-47 cartridges from the spot and suspect the hand of the NDFB in the incident. The NDFB, however, has denied any role.