The toll in continuing violence in Assam mounted to 95 today with the recovery of seven bodies even as a new district was brought under indefinite curfew and the government called for a ban on bandhs for a month.
Two bodies were recovered from Dhemaji and five others from Dhubri,Chirang,Baksa and Kokrajhar districts late last night and this morning,official sources said,adding most of the bodies were those of relief camp refugees.
“The toll now stands at 95,” Assam IGP (Law and Order) L R Bishnoi said.
“Army is staging flag marches and police and security forces are maintaining 24-hour vigil in the disturbed areas,” he said.
Indefinite curfew was clamped from 5 pm in Sonitpur in central Assam,which witnessed violence yesterday during the bandh called by the All Assam Minority Students’ Union,the fifth district to be brought under curfew. Night curfew was continuing in Dhubri,Kokrajhar,Chirang and Baksa districts.
Meanwhile,with the Centre worried over some organisations trying to stoke social tension by calling bandhs,the state government officially declared a ban on all shutdowns for a month.
“The decision to impose a ban on bandhs was taken during a meeting of a high-powered committee on law and order headed by Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi,” government spokesman Nilomoni Sen Deka said.
Ninety per cent of violence in the state was due to frequent bandh calls which have also crippled the economy,Deka said and appealed to civil societies and NGOs not to call bandhs which disrupt public life.
Gogoi said the army,assisting the civil administration in violence-hit districts,would seize illegal arms. “The army is out and is helping us. It has been given full powers to seize illegal arms and ammunition and I believe we will get results very soon.”
The army has been put in action in Chirang and Bongaigaon and would soon conduct similar operations in the other districts,he said.
The army,engaged in counter-insurgency operations in the state,was requisitioned by the state government from July 25 to assist the civil administration in quelling violence in lower Assam.
Bishnoi said three persons were arrested in Sonitpur for attacks on scribes during the yesterday’s bandh in which five of them were assaulted and injured.
Meanwhile,principal Opposition party AIUDF alleged that both the central and state governments have failed in maintaining law and order situation.
“The state government has lost control over the Bodoland Territorial Council area and the Centre has also not done enough. If the government cannot protect the lives and property of the common people,what is the use of having such regime,” AIUDF General Secretary Aditya Langthasa told reporters.
The BJP demanded the dismissal of the Gogoi government for its “failure” in maintaining the law and order.
“The Tarun Gogoi government has lost control over the situation. Gogoi is not ruling the state. Assam is now being run by fundamentalists,extremists,anti-socials and lumpen elements,” BJP national Vice President Bijoya Chakraborty said.