NEW DELHI: Assam-Nagaland border was a witness to violence and ferocity which resulted killing at least one and injuring many others in the Golaghat district with many houses set ablaze. While the villagers in Nagaland are reiterating that it is rather the other side- Assam which was fanning flare-ups on the inter-state boundary by pushing illegal immigrants inside its territory; the Nagaland Home Ministry have appealed to the people to maximise restraint so as to bring normalcy in the area.
The trouble began on Tuesday when the angry locals of Chetia Gaon in Golaghat district of Assam who were agitating in front of 155 CRPF battalion office protesting against the the abduction of two boys by suspected miscreants from Nagaland, were caned by the CRPF personnel. What followed was worse.
While these villagers were fleeing from the spot, they were fired upon by alleged miscreants from Nagaland who also allegedly torched scores of huts belonging to Adivasis in Assam.
Numerous houses were set ablaze as frightened residents of the border villages of Chetiagaon, Rumanbasti, Tenpur, Lachitgaon and Jadhajibasti of the district, which falls under Sector B of the Assam-Nagaland border, fled.
Additional Para-Military forces have been rushed to the affected area. Alongside, Assam Chief Minister has asked Parliamentary Secretary (Home and Political) Etuwa Munda and Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order and in charge of Border) A.P. Rout to oversee security measures in the affected areas. DIG (Central Range) P.C. Saloi is also camping there.
The affected district’s normal life was further crippled by a 12-hour bandh called on Wednesday by All Adivasi Students Association of Assam (AASAA) to protest against the killing.
Rockybul Hussain, Assam Environment and Forest Minister, speaking on behalf of the Chief Minister told the PTI “As per reports, nearly 70 houses of adivasi people were burnt yesterday (Tuesday) ,” he said. “The current incident is a group clash. Still, our government is committed to protect the geographical integrity and will not tolerate any kind of encroachment” adding that around 5,000 people fled from their homes and eight relief camps have been set up to provide them shelter.
Informing that they have asked the Senior Home Department officials to visit the place and take necessary action, the Minister added that even the Nagaland government has been contacted frequently so that the situation does not deteriorate further.
The Nagaland Home Minister Y Patton said “I appeal to the people of Wokha district especially the Ralan area to remain calm as the Government of Nagaland is fully aware of the gravity of the situation and the government will not shy away from its responsibility in protecting the lives and properties of the villagers in the border areas”
He also stated that the Government of Nagaland is also fully in touch with the Government of India so as to tackle the situation in a more befitting manner. He assured that the government will do whatever it can within its disposal to resolve the present crisis.
On the other hand, Nagaland has been accusing Assam of settling illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, Nepal and Adivasis in the disturbed areas along the Nagaland-Assam border and pushing them inside Nagaland.
A former president of Naga Students’ Federation, Achumbemo Kikon, said the situation was very tense and could take a turn for the worse if the governments did not take appropriate measures.
Kyong Students’ Union (KSU) president Amos Lotha rather had a different version of the chronology of events that led to the violence. He alleged that the Adivasis had first attacked Naga villagers, who then torched their huts. He claimed that while Dispur has deployed scores of police in the area, Nagaland had deployed only a few. Nagaland deployed an IRB company in the area last evening.