Patil says vested interest involved in Assam violence

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New Delhi, Nov 29 (UNI) Strongly condemning the violence on the student protestors demanding Schedule Tribe status in Assam, Home Minister Shivraj Patil today lent support to the views that the agitation could have been stoked by some 'vested interests' in the sensitive border state.

Replying to the clarifications raised by the members in the Rajya Sabha on the statement of the Home Ministry on the November 24 incidents, Mr Patil said a section strongly believes that there was a conspiracy behind the agitation in this sensitive state which cannot be totally ruled out.

He said the students were allowed to come to Guwahati but were not allowed to take out processions. The students, numbering around 1000 to 1500, on November 24 overpowered the police pickets around noon and entered Basistha Road leading to capital Dispur from Beltola.

About 30 shops and 50 vehicles were stoned and damaged by the protestors and the state government had informed Mr Patil that these people had taken revenge on the events that had stunned the nation.

The perpetrators of the crime against the students had been arrested.

Refusing to take a stand on the demand of the students for Scheduled Tribe status, Mr Patil said the laws were very clear and complex about providing of ST status in each state. This was being resisted by those already in the list. As far as the Government is concerned it would take a fair and just decision after a careful examination on this sensitive issue, he said.

''We can't take an extreme position either way as it could have been an easy option. If real justice has to be dispensed, it can't be just by one authority but all,'' he remarked.

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