Kokrajhar: Amid the clashes between minority immigrants and Bodo tribals, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi arrived in Assam on Saturday.

However, Prime Minister had to leave for Assam's violence-hit Kokrajhar district in an IAF helicopter after the previous chopper he was travelling in flew back here following a technical snag.
The Prime Minister left Lokopriyo Gopinath International Airport at 12:35 pm accompanied by Assam Governor J B Patnaik, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh, Assam Pradesh Congress Committee president Bhubaneswar Kalita and senior state government officials.
Earlier in the day, Singh's helicopter returned 15 minutes after take off with initial reports attributing it to bad weather but airport authority officials later clarified that the cause was a technical problem, the details of which could only be confirmed by the PMO's office.
The Prime Minister was scheduled to review the situation in the strife-torn district with Bodoland Territorial Administered Districts (BTAD) authorities and visit two relief camps there.

Assam unrest continues

The unrest continued unabated as the toll in the ethnic violence shot up to 50 on Thursday with the recovery of more bodies even as the Centre asked the Assam government to nab the "ring leaders" involved in unrest.

Five bodies were recovered from Bijni in Chirang district and three from worst-hit Kokrajhar where shoot-at- sight orders and indefinite curfew were in force, police said. One more person was killed in police firing during clashes between minority immigrants and Bodos in lower Assam's Dhubri district even as fresh violence in Baksa district left four persons seriously injured on Thursday.

Two fresh incidents of arson have been reported from Chirang and Kokrajhar districts, but no casualty have been reported. Thirteen columns of the Army were deployed in Kokrajhar, Chirang, Dhubri and Bongaigaon where they staged flag marches accompanied by a magistrate.

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Tarun Gogoi visits Kokrajhar, DM attacked

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi arrived in Kokrajhar to review the situation in the riot-affected areas where tension prevailed.
Kokrajhar district executive magistrate Bipul Saikia was injured in an attack by unidentified assailants and his vehicle damaged while he was on his way to visit a relief camp in Bhotgaon Kanchipara area of the district.

The Chief Minister, who arrived here at 11.30 AM in a helicopter from Guwahati, is scheduled to review the situation in a meeting with senior police and civil administration officials at the Circuit House.
He is also scheduled to meet people displaced from their homes due to the conflict.  

Nab the 'ring leaders'

In Delhi, Union Home Secretary R K Singh said 2,000 central security personnel have been deputed to guard Guwahati-bound trains and railway tracks which were disrupted. "We have asked the state government to book ring leaders of both sides so that violence can be checked immediately. No one involved in the violence will be spared," he said.

Ruling out the possibility of involvement of anyone from across the border, he said, "The international border is sealed. It is simply impossible for any organised group crossing over to India from across the border to carry out the attacks."
"25 people have been so far killed in Kokrajhar district while 15 others have lost their lives in neighbouring Chirang district," Assam IGP (law and order) L R Bishnoi said. Indefinite curfew is continuing in Kokrajhar while night curfew is on in Chirang and Dhubri districts.   

Bishnoi said, "The situation is stablising." North Frontier Railway spokesman Nripendra Bhattacharjee said passenger and goods trains services had partially resumed this afternoon and the stalled trains would resume their journey with the 'improvement' in the situation.

Army mobilises 1000 troopers
Sensing the situation, the army on Wednesday mobilised around 1000 personnel for deployment in four violence hit districts of Assam and has begun conducting flag marches to ensure safety and security of people there.
"13 columns of troops have been mobilised to enforce peace in violence-hit areas of Kokrajhar, Chiranguri, Dhubri and Bongaigaon in Assam. The troops are also carrying out flag marches in these areas," Indian Army officials said here.
These camps are being guarded by central paramilitary force (CPMF) personnel round the clock to ensure the safety of people there. These 13 columns comprising over 1000 troopers have been equipped with riot control gear to meet all eventualities, the officials said.
"Three columns have been put on reserve to meet any eventuality," they said. Besides conducting anti-riot drills, army troops are also carrying out regular and routine counter terrorism and counter insurgency (CI/CT) operations in these areas.
"Most of these areas are infested with terrorism and insurgent groups are still active there. We have to ensure that the situation does not escalate there while keeping out CI/CT drills intact," they said.
Round-the-clock curfew with shoot-at-sight orders have been clamped in several areas of Assam after 38 people were reportedly killed in the violence. Several meetings were being conducted by the state government to assess the situation in these areas and security forces have been asked to remain on high alert.

People turn homeless in Assam

Amid the ongoing attacks, people continued to flee for safety to relief camps in Chirang and Kokrajhar district on Tuesday.

Both Muslims as well as the Bodos have been affected by the violence.

An estimated two lakh people have fled their homes and taken shelter in 150 relief camps set up in the three districts as nearly 500 villages have been abandoned following the violence. 11 persons have been reported missing till now.

Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that additional doctors, nurses, mobile medical units and 15 ambulances along with medicine have been sent today to the violence-hit districts.
"We will ensure complete health care to all the affected and suffering people. We are quickly arranging for more doctors for the three severely affected districts of Kokrajhar, Dhubri and Chirang," he said.
Already a team of doctors from Guwahati Medical College was working in Kokrajhar and these are only additional deployment in view of more relief camps, he said.
"We will further deploy two male public health workers and two nurses in each of the relief camps," he said.


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