Police say agitators threw stones at them and torched a bus
One person was killed and at least five others were injured when the police opened fire to disperse a group of violent agitators at Krishnai in Lower Assam’s Goalpara district on Thursday.
The firing came after some agitators torched a Guwahati-bound bus and threw stones at police and central paramilitary force personnel during a blockade of National Highway 37. Several policemen were injured, the police said.
The agitators tried to block the highway as part of their civil disobedience programme under the banner of Non-Rabha Coordination Committee to press their demand for exclusion of non-Rabha villages from the Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council (RHAC) before holding elections to the autonomous council.
The police said they first resorted to lathi charge to disperse the agitators but some protesters started throwing stones to resist them and set ablaze the bus on a bridge. This promoted the police to open fire, they said.
The elections to the RHAC are scheduled in three phases for November 13-25.The RHAC was formed in 1995 but elections to the council have not been held since its inception and all these years it has been run by ad hoc bodies appointed by the Assam government.
Meanwhile, in Baksa district of Bodoland Territorial Area District ruled by the Bodoland Territorial Council, the death toll in Wednesday’s clashes during a 24-hour Assam bandh called by the Aboro Suraksha Samiti has gone up to two with the recovery of the body of a youth.
Inspector-General (Central Western Range) L.R. Bisnoi told The Hindu that curfew, clamped in areas under the Mushalpur and Simla police station on Wednesday night in the wake of the violence, was relaxed during the day on Thursday. But night curfew from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. would continue to be in force.
The IGP said he had visited several affected villages and appealed to the people not to take law into their own hands and to help the authorities maintain peace and harmony. He said nine persons were arrested for their alleged involvement in the violence.
The Samiti called the bandh to press for exclusion of non-Bodo villages from BTC and to voice its opposition to the demand by various Bodo bodies for creation of a separate State of Bodoland.