4 killed in police firing near Assam-Nagaland border

4 killed in police firing near Assam-Nagaland border

Tension escalated along the “disputed” Assam-Nagaland border on Wednesday as four persons were killed and at least 30 wounded in police firing in Assam’s Golaghat following violent protests, prompting the Centre to become proactive in handling the situation.

The authorities have imposed an indefinite curfew in the district. Agencies reported that the firing took place after a section of the protesters tried to set ablaze the deputy commissioner’s office and a police station and targeted a hospital.

Police first fired tear gas shells to control the mob of over 1,000 people at Erengapara Chariali in Golaghat marching to the DC’s office and police station to set them on fire. When the protesters began pelting stones at the police and came within 300 metres of the two buildings, the police opened fire.

While four breathed their last at a hospital, 20 among the 30 injured are battling for life.  In a related incident, a man was killed when he was knocked down by a truck while trying to save himself from police baton-charge.

Reports said he was not taking part in any protest but was on the way home after dropping his children to school. 

The protesters were up in arms against the Assam government alleging that the authorities have failed to protect people in Uriamghat against attack by alleged miscreants from Nagaland who killed nine persons a week ago.

In New Delhi, the Centre went into a proactive mode with Prime Minister Narendra Modi keeping a close watch on the situation and Home Minister Rajnath Singh asking chief ministers of both states to take action to defuse tension.

The Union Home Ministry sent a report within hours after the Prime Minister’s Office sought it. Singh instructed Minister of State Kiren Rijiju to meet chief ministers Tarun Gogoi (Assam) and T R Zelian (Nagaland) in Guwahati on Thursday where they will be attending the North East Chief Minister’s conference.

Sources said a land dispute between an Assamese tribal and Naga communities was root of the problem. They said that militant groups taking sides has added fuel to the fire.

Singh has told the two chief ministers on phone that violence along the border must end at the earliest and all possible steps should be taken immediately. Singh also impressed upon both Gogoi and Zelian that action must be taken against those who indulge in violence and police must maintain restraint while facing peaceful protesters.

The Home Ministry rejected the allegations levelled by Gogoi that the CRPF was not taking a proactive stand to contain violence. Rijiju countered Gogoi, saying the allegations were “baseless” as the central forces were at the disposal of the state government.

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