Communal tension continues in north Assam

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Guwahati, Oct 4 (UNI) Communal clashes continued in northern Assam for the second consecutive day today with seven dead, curfew at several places and massive security arrangements even as senior ministers, administration and police officers camped at the troubled areas to control the situation.

The Army staged flag marches in the disturbed parts of Udalguri and Darrang districts with CRPF and Army assisting the state police in maintaining law and order after clashes broke out between immigrants and Bodo tribe yesterday.

However, tension continued and people defied the security arrangements to ransack and torch shops and villages with police having to resort to blank firing at Jhargaon, near Rowta, in Udalguri district.

A mob of about 1,000 people had stormed the Jhargaon market and set it ablaze, forcing the police firing. Several people were injured in the incident.

The toll had already touched seven with four bodies recovered at the most volatile Rowta area in Udalguri district after three people were killed yesterday. Several dozens of people had been injured and many were referred to Guwahati Medical College and Hospital in serious condition.

People had been forced to take shelter at schools and community halls since last night after fresh clashes broke out yesterday morning after one-and-half-month of uneasy calm.

State Government spokesperson Dr Himanta Biswa Sharma and his Cabinet colleagues Chandan Brahma and Rihon Daimary rushed to the affected areas.

Udalguri Deputy Commissioner George Basumatary was transferred while Superintendent of Police Binay Kuli was suspended with Manoj Agarwal placed in the latter's position.

A SP-level police officer Abu Sufian had been entrusted with law and order in Rowta area of the district after the entire Rowta market from where four bodies were recovered and a neighbouring village were burnt down last night.

Sufian informed that the situation was still extremely tense as people came out on streets armed with traditional weapons despite heavy Army presence in the area.

Rowta had been the epicentre of communal violence in mid-August and the present unrest was a continuation of it after the intervening period of uneasy calm.

Other troubled areas hade also been placed under charge of SP-rank officers in the districts with top government and police officers camping in the areas since yesterday.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, condemning the incident, urged for restraint and assured of brining the situation under control before further escalation of violence.

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