Gogoi points fingers at Centre over delay in army deployment

Tarun Gogoi
Guwahati, Jul 27: Under attack over the large-scale ethnic violence, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi sought to point fingers at the Centre for the delay in deployment of army saying the situation would not have deteriorated had the troops been deployed on the first day.

As the state reported some improvement in the situation, the Chief Minister said his government did not get any intelligence from the Union Home Ministry that there was going to be such a flare-up. "If they had, why didn't they send the army immediately. We wanted the army from day one of the crisis and now when it is there, the situation is gradually limping back to normal," Gogoi told a press conference.

"The MHA hasn't provided me with any intelligence report. I haven't got any information that there is going to be such a flare-up", he said.

To a question, Gogoi said the army could not be deployed from day one as certain procedures had to be followed. Officials in New Delhi acknowledged the delay in deployment of army troops led to spread of the clashes between Bodos and minority immigrants.

The Deputy Commissioners of Kokrajhar and Chirang districts, the worst-hit by the violence, had requested the local Army units on Jul 23 for deployment of army personnel. However, the local Army commanders did not accept the request saying they need an order from the Ministry of Defence, after which Assam Chief Secretary Naba Kumar Das sent separate letters to Union Home Secretary RK Singh and Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma, they said.

"Finally, the troops were deployed two days later--on Jul 25. Had the Army personnel been deployed earlier, many lives could have been saved," an official said.

Army troops could have reached the trouble spots within three to four hours as two major Army stations are located within a distance of 150 kms from both Kokrajhar and Chirang.


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