Army, curfew in Assam's silk town

The Army was deployed and indefinite curfew clamped down on the silk town of Sualkuchi in Assam’s Kamrup (Rural) district on Saturday, following protests against the use of artificial silk during which 10 people were injured in police firing.

The district administration called in the army after imposing the prohibitory orders under Section 144 from 2 pm to contain a second day of protests by weavers who called a 12-hour bandh, official sources said.

Personnel of the Army’s Punjab Regiment were patrolling the town along with police and paramilitary forces, the sources said.

The protesters, including weavers and local people, converged on the main market area in the morning and urged the State Bank of India branch to down the shutters as a bandh was on, the sources said.

The mob, then forcibly took out goods from the shops selling clothes labelled “Assam silk” and made bonfires of them on roads, claiming they were not genuine pure Assamese golden Muga Silk and white Paat Silk unique to the state.

The protesters refused to disperse and hurled stones at the police which used teargas and rubber bullets. Later, the police resorted to firing, injuring ten people, the sources said.

Additional Superintendent of Police Hemanta Das was injured in the stone-throwing.

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