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Gogoi blames central forces for spread of violence

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said violence along a disputed stretch of the Assam-Nagaland border in Golaghat district worsened because central paramilitary forces could not contain it.

This led to loss of lives, said Gogoi, after visiting the violence-hit Uriamghat in Golaghat. People living along the border areas want state security forces. Inmates of relief camps “do not have confidence” on security forces deployed by central government, he said. “The CRPF deployed in the disputed area has failed miserably to protect the poor villagers of Assam. The situation, therefore, needs to be contained promptly so that violence does not spread to other areas.”

Some residents in Assam and Nagaland have been fighting over a stretch of land for decades. Each state accuses the other of encroachment.

The situation in Golaghat continued to be tense on Tuesday with various social and student organisations holding protest demonstrations. These organisations blocked the National Highway-39, connecting Nagaland and Manipur with Assam.

At least 11 were killed by suspected miscreants from Nagaland and 10,000 displaced since the clashes began on August 12. Four have been reported missing since and seven injured. Police said only nine bodies have been recovered but there might be more. Several houses, too, have been torched.

“Though there have been sporadic incidents in the area in the last couple of decades, the latest violence was perpetrated by Naga miscreants and has been of a greater magnitude. It has claimed several lives and rendered thousands homeless. About 10,000 panic-stricken villagers have taken shelter in 13 relief camps opened by the Golaghat district administration,” said Gogoi.

On Monday, the chief minister was heckled while visiting a relief camp at Uriamghat. He had to wind up the visit abruptly. He later met the district administration and senior police officers and said a border development council and a border protection force would be constituted soon.

Gogoi has urged the prime minister to hold a meeting at the political and official levels urgently to discuss measures for restoring peace. “We strongly desire the restoration of peace, amity and harmony in our border areas with Nagaland.”

The area affected by the latest violence falls in sector B of the Disputed Area Belt and is located within the constitutional boundary of Assam, he added.

Gogoi is to meet his Nagaland counterpart, T R Zeliang, on Thursday to discuss the border flare-up.

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