Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Thursday urged the northeast people living in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Maharashtra and elsewhere in the country, not to believe rumours and to stay wherever they are, even as nine inmates of a relief camp were injured in violence in Kokrajhar district.
An indefinite curfew was clamped in Rangiya circle in lower Assam’s Kamrup district and the Army was called out in the districts of Kamrup, Nalbari and Baksa following mob violence.
Assam Home Secretary G.D. Tripathi told The Hindu that the nine inmates of a relief camp in Gossaigaon sub-division in Kokrajhar district were injured when miscreants launched an acid attack on a tempo carrying them. Police arrested five persons in connection with the attack, which took place when the inmates were going to their homes to look after cattle.
Curfew was clamped in Rangiya circle after a mob torched a Guwahati-bound bus and a wooden bridge and blocked National Highway 31 to protest against the torching of a car and attack on the driver by miscreants in the neighbouring Baksa district under the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) on Wednesday night. Police fired in the air to disperse the mob and clear the highway.
Mr. Gogoi said that besides the Chief Ministers of Karnataka and other States, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde had assured people from the northeast that their safety and security would be ensured. There was absolutely no need to panic.
Mr. Gogoi said he would send a ministerial delegation and senior officials to Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh on Friday to coordinate with the State governments.
Misuse of bulk SMS
The State government was exploring clamping some kind restriction on use of bulk SMS. It was being misused by vested forces to spread rumours. It was because of rumours that the number of inmates in relief camps had swelled to over 4.8 lakh. So far, 1,88,122 inmates had returned home. As on Thursday, there were 2,92,542 inmates in relief camps in the districts of Kokrajhar, Chirang, Dhubri and Bongaigaon.
Mr. Gogoi admitted that a sense of insecurity prevailed among camp inmates, owing to which rehabilitation might take some more time.
Appeal to students
The Meghalaya police have issued an appeal to students and parents not to give credence to false rumours and to call them for any assistance at +918575001111.
Meghalaya Director-General of Police N. Ramachandran said they had come across SMSs spreading false rumours about students from the northeast being attacked in South India. “We have checked with the police in these States and learnt that these are rumours spread by fanatic groups to foment trouble. We request students and parents not to give credence to false rumours.”
The All Assam Students’ Union and the Asom Gana Parishad, while expressing concern over the exodus of people from the northeast, alleged that some forces were trying to foment communal tension in the State and in the country.