Ruling out the involvement of Maoists or Bangladesh-based groups in the ethnic violence in Assam,the Ministry of Home Affairs has asked the state government to immediately arrest the people who are instigating the mobs.
We have told the state government to book the ring leaders of both sides so that violence can be checked immediately, said Home Secretary R K Singh. Senior MHA officials including Special Secretary (Internal Security) Ajay Chaddha and Joint Secretary in charge of Northeast Shambhu Singh toured the riot-hit areas of Kokrajhar district on Wednesday. Shambhu Singh told The Indian Express that violent incidents had stopped and the situation had been brought under control about 99 per cent.
The immediate need is to provide relief to the people who have been displaced. The assessment is that about 170,000 people have been displaced and need rehabilitation. For the time being,they are being kept in camps. Necessary arrangements are being made for people in the camps, he said.
He said the state government had only asked the Centre to deploy more security forces. That is being provided, he said.
In Delhi,the Home Secretary said about 2,500 personnel of the central paramilitary forces had reached Assam to assist the local administration in controlling the mobs while another 1,500 were on their way. About 2,000 central security personnel,including those from the Railway Protection Force,have been deputed to guard the trains and railway tracks and properties being attacked by the mobs.
Singh turned down suggestions that insurgents based in Bangladesh may be behind the violence. The international border is sealed. It is not possible for any organised group to cross over to indulge in violent attacks, he said.
Another senior officer said reports that Maoists were involved in the attacks were nothing more than rumours. There is no Maoist angle in this. There is a known presence of Maoists in Assam but they have not started or instigated the violence,nor are they believed to be involved in the attacks. It is probable,though,that they might want to take advantage of this violence for their benefit, he said.
Meanwhile,a Defence Ministry spokesperson said 13 columns,comprising over 1000 troops,had been put under the charge of civilian authorities in the violence-hit areas of Kokrajhar,Chiranguri,Dhubri and Bongaigaon. He said the troops were carrying out flag marches in these areas.