Four killed in police firing in Assam; curfew in troubled areas

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Guwahati, Jan 2 (UNI) At least four people were killed in police firing on a mob in Assam's Goalpara district today even as curfew was clamped in the volatile Lakhipur area.

Goalpara Superintendent of Police Abhijit Borah said two persons were killed in the first instance of police firing in the forenoon in Lakhipur bazaar while two more were killed in another incident at the same spot later in the afternoon.

Trouble erupted when supporters of the Aarabha Samanay Raksha Manch, Goalpara, (Non-Rabha coordination committee) sponsored road blockade burnt down three police vehicles and a bus carrrying Panchayat poll personnel in the district.

The committee had called the blockade for three days, beginning today, to protest the scrapping of Panchayat polls in the Rabha-Hasong autonomous council areas, which also have a sizeable non-Rabha population. The polls in these areas were scheduled for the second phase on January 4.

After the blockade enforcers turned violent in the morning, police intervened to quell the crowd.

Mr Borah said, ''the Magistrate on duty first ordered lathi-charge and then firing in the air. But when these measures failed to contain the agitators, police had to resort to firing.'' ''At least two civilians are feared dead and the injured include senior officials of the Lakhipur police station, besides the agitators,'' he added.

More than a thousand strong crowd reassembled in the area later in the day. Armed with bows, sticks and other sharp weapons, they burnt down several houses in the area and stormed towards the Lakhipur police station with an intention to setting it on fire.

The SP said the police had to open fire for a second time in the day and two persons were killed in it.

Curfew was later imposed in the area and army staged flag march in the troubled spots. '' The situation is under control now and we are keeping a close watch,'' Mr Borah stated.

The district had witnessed violence and unrest since the government's announcement of not holding Panchayat election in the Rabha-Hasong areas.

UNI SG KK DB1825

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