Assam burning again; 24 killed in fresh violence

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Guwahati, Feb 13: At least 20 people have been killed during fresh violence in Assam ahead of the crucial panchayat elections in the state, stated official source. [Update: Assam remains tense, 300 homes burnt; Army deployed]

While 13 people were killed during police firing, 6 others died during overnight clashes between the Rabha Hajong tribe and members of other communities. However, contradicting to official data, another source informed that 24 people died so far and more than 75 were injured. Total 300 houses in 5 villages have also been burnt.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi was quoted as saying, "Violence was reported in 22 places. I agree the security preparations for the elections could have been better. I take full responsibility (for the violence)."

Curfew has been imposed in Goalpara district and other areas. The fresh violence broke out at such a time when the state was trying to overcome the heals due to the recent communal clashed which had claimed 75 lives and leaving many homeless.

Earlier on Tuesday, Feb 12 a mob of 400 men and women armed with iron rods, axes, machetes and sticks attacked a polling station at Ambari Kathalmari school, the police said.

As the mob turned violent attacking poll personnel and voters, police used batons and then opened fire killing two men and a woman on the spot, the police said. Following the violence, the district administration imposed indefinite curfew in the Krishnai police station areas.

In the continuing violence in Goalpara where the panchayat poll was being opposed in the Rabha Hasong Autonomous District Council (RHADC) areas, a police officer was seriously injured by protestors. Krishnai police station officer-in-charge Hatem Ali was injured by the protestors at Bekibul.

The protestors also attacked polling personnel, they said. At Rakkhaysin polling station, some persons tried to throw petrol bombs but the voters there severely beat them up.

In neighbouring Kamrup (Rural) district, groups of armed men and women in the RHADC areas attacked police stations and polling personnel, the police said.

Some persons also attacked polling personnel and Boko Dekapara police station besides setting ablaze their vehicles driving away the polling personnel, the police said.

Lalmati lower primary school, where a voting centre was set up, was torched gutting eight ballot boxes, the police said. Anti-socials also destroyed several ballot papers there.

The ballot papers at Dorapar polling centre at Agia were also set on fire, the police said. Disturbances were also reported at Khulakhati area of Hajo, Sambhar and Tokorapar lower primary schools voting centres in the RHADC areas following faulty ballot papers, the police said.

Additional security forces had been deployed in the RHADC areas falling in the twin districts to maintain law and order, the police said.

OneIndia News
(With PTI inputs)

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