Situation limping back to normality; Army conducts medical camps

With no fresh incidents of violence having been reported in the last three days, Kokrajhar and its adjoining areas are fast returning to normality. The administration has lifted the day-time curfew.

On Sunday people went around doing their daily chores as there was no restriction on their movement from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Though public transport buses are yet to resume operations, the plying of share autorickshaws and cycle rickshaws gave a semblance of normality.

Kokrajhar Deputy Commissioner Donald Gilfellon (since transferred) said petrol supplies had also normalised. “During the curfew, the supplies and sales had got curtailed but now they have been completely restored.”

As the arrival of petrol tankers was hampered by the violence, many filling stations rationed sales to civilians. Some had even refused them oil as they were under instructions to keep the fuel for the administration and security vehicles. On Sunday, however, the filling stations functioned normally.

Mr. Gilfellon said the focus was on relief and rehabilitation. “We are running 79 camps in the district and each is being provided with medical facilities.”

The administration had provided the inmates rations for a week. “We are also providing tarpaulins and mosquito coils in some places. The administration is sinking tube wells to provide water.”

The Deputy Commissioner said the people had started returning to their homes from some of the camps. But he admitted that their number was still low as the free food being provided in the camps remained an attraction and a necessity for many.

Meanwhile, the Army, which has deployed 13 companies, has derequisitioned seven companies from Baska. General Officer Commanding 21 Mountain Division Major General R.N. Nair said the situation was improving rapidly, hence the companies had been taken out for contingency duties.

5,266 houses gutted

Sushanta Talukdar reports:

State Home Secretary G.D. Tripathi told The Hindu that according to initial reports, 5,266 houses have been burnt in the three districts of Kokrajhar, Chirang, Dhubri. The detailed assessment of the damage was on, he said. Nearly four lakh people have taken shelter in 278 relief camps while the violence claimed 58 lives, left 67 injured and seven persons missing.

Forces not deployed in time: CPI(M)

Meanwhile, a three-member parliamentary delegation of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), which toured Kokrajhar and Chirang on Saturday, has urged the State government to take immediate steps to rebuild houses and other infrastructure.

The CPI(M) has also demanded payment of adequate compensation to the affected Bodo and Muslim families.

The delegation was led by leader of the party in the Lok Sabha, Basudeb Acharia.

The party flayed both the Central and State governments for the “inept” handling of the situation and for not deploying the Army and paramilitary forces in time to contain violence despite tension building up in Kokrajhar district since July first week.

“Knowing fully well about growing tension, why was the Chief Minister sleeping and two communities were allowed to clash? The State government and Mr. Tarun Gogoi owe an explanation as to why paramilitary forces were not deployed,” Mr. Acharia told journalists on Sunday.