Assam communal clashes: toll rises to 22

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{image-Assam communal clashes_05102008.jpg}Guwahati, Oct 5: With two more people killed near Mazgaon, allegedly in police firing, the toll in the communal violence that razed North Assam since the past three days rose to 22 on Sunday, Oct 5.

Senior police official Abu Sufian informed that violence erupted in the Bahakatpara area of Udalguri district this morning and about 20,000 people of the area had been affected. The violence spread to newer areas as more clashes were reported from Darrang, Udalguri and Sonitpur districts. Two more people were allegedly killed in police firing near Mazgaon while another round of police firing took place at Rowta as the violence continued unabated despite deployment of the Army and imposition of curfew.

Eye witnesses said a mob of Bodo villagers attacked immigrant minorty villagers followed by police firing which allegedly killed two persons. Clashes were also reported from Hugrijuli, Chapabari and Singribari near Dhekijuli of Sonitpur district. About 20,000 villagers have been shifted to safer places with majority of them lodged in the Mudoibari refugee camp.

The situation in the Tizahar area of the Bhakatpara region was reported to be the most tense. More than 120 injured people were shifted to Guwahati Medical College, besides Tezpur and Mangaldoi civil hospital.

''The situation is under control and there is heavy deployment of Army. New police officers are also moving into the area,'' Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said, who is monitoring the situation with the two communities of Bodos and immigrant minorties clashing against each other.

''The casualties as of now are 22 killed and about 50 injured, some of them critically, and about 20 villages have been affected. Around 200 houses were torched in the group clashes,'' a senior police official said.

Udlaguri Superintendent of Police Bijoy Kuligam was suspended following the clashes. The clashes took place despite indefinite curfew in the violence-hit areas and the Army staging flag marches, besides the presence of police and paramilitary troopers.

''We have asked security forces to take all possible steps to stop the violence and help restore calm in the area,'' the Chief Minister said.


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