Violence Has Stopped But Exodus Continues
Villagers fleeing after violence hit the Chirang district
NEW DELHI: Amid claims made by the state government that the situation in Assam is improving, the number of people rendered homeless after the violence forced to take shelter in the total 81 relief camps in the four affected districts in the state has climbed to 1.15 lakh.
Assam Commissioner and Secretary (Disaster Management) Pramod Kumar Tiwari informed that around 1.05 lakh people are residing in 81 relief camps in the four districts currently, adding, “Apart from these, around 10 per cent more people come at night to stay in the relief camps due to fear psychosis”. Tens of thousands of people from both the communities( tribal and Bodo) have been displaced after the NDFB(S) mowed down tribal villagers in the Sonitpur and Kokrajhar districts on Tuesday and the aftermaths of those barbaric attacks.
A total of 364 houses were set ablaze by both communities in the aftermath of the attack, out of which,186 units were burnt in Sonitpur, 117 in Kokrajhar, 41 in Chirang and 20 in Udalguri.
While no new incident of violence has been reported, the exodus has continued since Tuesday.
While several persons are taking shelter within the state, scores of affected people have fled to the neighbouring state of West Bengal as well.
Four camps have been set up in West Bengal at Kumargram and Cooch Behar providing shelter and other necessities for the displaced people.
Mamata Banerjee, West Bengal Chief Minister, while calling the refugees from Assam as guests, assured them that her government would stand beside them.
“They are more than our guests, our own people. They don’t have shelter now. We all know their mental condition. They are the victim of circumstances, so let us all stand beside them,” Banerjee said at Changmari refugee camp in Alipurduar district.
On Saturday, Army Chief General Dalbir Singh visited the violence-hit areas in Assam to take stock of the security situation in the state.
He was given an overview of the current status of operations covering the various measures being taken to effectively improve the larger security milieu in Assam.
The General reviewed the deployment of 66 Army columns in the disturbed areas, while examining the blueprint for the employment of additional forces being inducted into the sector and was also briefed on the proactive actions undertaken by the Army along with different agencies to intensify the pressure against the militant outfits.
While operations were intensified on the Assam-Arunachal border after the brutal attack by the Bodo militants on Tuesday, the security forces escalated their operations along the Bhutan border on Saturday.
Assuring that his troops would be extending all possible support to the state administration in bringing back normalcy, Singh added that simultaneously, the Army would also be carrying out relentless operations against the perpetrators of terror.
Further, the General pitched for greater synergy with Central and state intelligence and security agencies.
Meanwhile, the Centre directed the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to probe the massacre in Assam.
An official statement read “The Ministry of Home Affairs today (Saturday) directed the National Investigation Agency to take up the investigation of four cases registered by Assam Police relating to the recent attacks by suspected NDFB(S) group in the two districts of Sonitpur and Kokrajhar in which a large number of people were killed”.
On Tuesday, the anti-talk Songbijit faction of the militant organisation National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) gunned down Adivasi villagers in Sonitpur, Kokrajhar and Chirang districts of Assam.
In a retaliatory attack, some miscreants of the Adivasi community set ablaze houses of the Bodo community and beheaded two Bodos on Wednesday.
This resulted in another attack by the Bodo militants in Udalguri district and the police counter-firing which led to the killing of three more tribals. The violence continued since then between Bodo and Adivasi community and is presently said to be under control.
A total of 81 people have reportedly died in this massacre by militants and the counter-violence.