Communal Riot In Assam: 32 Lives Taken, Uncountable At Risk

Posted on July 25, 2012 in Politics

By Tanaya Singh:

Young or old, lives are being mercilessly taken in Kokrajhar district of Assam. A 14-year-old boy Zakir Ali being stoned to death by unknown, nameless faces tells the entire story of the current commotion in Assam, which is worsening by the hour, having already spread to the neighbouring districts of Dhubri and Chirang.

The tumultuous situation commenced due to old rivalry between the Bodos and Bengali Muslim settlers that has been ablaze since the 1990s. The death toll has risen to 32 followed by the attack on the Rajdhani Express headed towards Guwahati on Tuesday, 24th July. A mob of around 500 rioters pelted stones on the train and also broke down the railway link between Assam and the rest of the country due to increased violence on the tracks. This has left thousands of passengers marooned on stations because of cancellations and delayed trains.

The violence between Bodo community and the Muslim settlers erupted on Friday, 20th July and more than 50,000 villagers tried to escape for shelter towards the 49 safety camps set up by government troops. Due to unmanageable actions of the indocile communal rioters, the troops have been given orders to shoot the suspects on sight. “We have decided to control the situation with a firm hand, and we have issued shoot orders,” S.N. Singh, the local police inspector general said. Four reprobates were killed in police firing. Bodies are being found chopped up and discarded in remote places and more than 80 houses have been burnt.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh spoke to Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi  and promised full support from the government while asking him to do “everything possible” to curb the situation. After talks with Defence Minister A.K. Antony, more parliamentary and Army support has been assured. Security for the 54-km stretch between Srirampur and Salakati Railway stations is needed, as there are trains which have been held for more than 24 hours.

There are 27 vulnerable places in the state which need the maximum security however forces are not yet present there and the places stand defenceless, with ceaseless violence. After thousands of people left homeless and more lives in danger, the situation needs to be handled with utmost care, and the riots need to be stopped urgently before they aggravate to ruin many lives.