Death toll reaches 45; 11 missing
As the situation in the riot-torn districts in lower Assam showed signs of improvement, the Assam Chief Minister, Mr Tarun Gogoi, today said the situation would not have deteriorated had the Army been deployed from day one.
“We wanted the Army from day one of the crisis and now when it is there, the situation is gradually limping back to normal,” Mr Gogoi told reporters here.
Addressing a press conference today, he said 45 persons lost their lives in the worst crisis his Government has faced.
He said the Government had taken all steps to maintain law and order and four ministers were camping in the worst-hit Kokrajhar town.
A body was today found floating in the river Gouranga in Dhubri district while 11 people were reported missing, official sources said. In Baksa district, where clashes between minority immigrants and Bodos were reported only yesterday, three houses were set on fire at Simla in Daodhar village, they said. There was, however, no casualty or injury.
In the other three riot-torn Bodoland Territorial Autonomous Districts of Kokrajhar, Chirang and Dhubri, stray attacks and counter-attacks by the two communities continued.
The curfew was relaxed today in Kokrajhar district from 6 am to 6 pm, while it was relaxed from 8 am to 10 pm in the minority-dominated Dhubri district as the Army continued to stage flag marches in Kokrajhar district.
Night curfew will continue in Chirang, the sources said.
Delay by army
The Deputy Commissioners of Kokrajhar and Chirang districts had requested the army deployment on July 23. Army troops could have reached the troubled spots within three to four hours as two major Army stations are located within 150 kms from both Kokrajhar and Chirang.
However, the local Army commanders did not accept the request saying they need an order from the Ministry of Defence.