Edited by Surabhi Malik | Updated: August 07, 2012 17:14 IST
Fresh incidents of violence were reported from Kokrajhar - the epicentre of the riots - last night. At least three more people were killed here after armed gunmen opened fire in the district's Ranighuli village. The miscreants could not be arrested.
After the incident, which happened around 11 pm on Monday, police forces secured the area and once again imposed indefinite curfew in Kokrajhar. Curfew, meanwhile, also continues in neighbouring Chirang district, where more bodies were recovered this morning. This is the second incident of fresh violence in the state in the last 48 hours, after nearly 10 days of calm.
The fresh wave of violence in lower Assam has triggered protest by locals - a group of 500 agitators blocked National Highway 31 at Beltoli on the Kokrajhar-Dhubri border today.
The government today said that it is ready for a short discussion in Parliament on Assam. Sources say the BJP is likely to move an adjournment motion in the Lok Sabha tomorrow.
73 people are dead after 20 days of violence. Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi confirmed that toll today. "73 dead bodies have been recovered. We have decided to hand over the probe to the CBI. Lot of forces are involved in the violence that is taking place in the state. We need a fair probe," he said. In that number of dead, are 15 people killed at relief camps set up by the government, the chief minister said.(In Assam, latest wave of violence proves how many are at risk)
Mr Gogoi also said that nearly 170 people had been arrested in connection with the clashes that began between Bodos and Bengali speaking migrants last month, after a few incidents of murder on both sides. "Anybody found involved in violence and illegal possession of arms, irrespective of which community he or she belongs to, will be held," the CM warned.
The relief camps set up by Mr Gogoi-led government have been slammed for being over-crowded and prone to diseases and death. Aid workers say camps designed to accommodate 400 people are brimming with five times that amount. In some of these, there is only one water filter and just one set of toilets.
According to Assam's Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, around 8,000 children under two-years-old are sick at these camps, while hundreds of others have tested positive for malaria. There are also around 4,000 pregnant women in the camps who need medical support, he has said. The Chief Minister assured today that priority is being given to sanitation and cleanliness at these camps. He however added that "there are forces trying to disturb rehabilitation work." He also added that efforts are on to decongest the camps. "Nearly one lakh people have already been sent back to their villages," Mr Gogoi said.
Sources say authorities are encouraging some of the displaced to return home, saying that the situation is under control with police and army patrols, as well as a curfew in some areas. But aid workers distributing relief in the camps say survivors are reportedly too scared to return, especially after reports that five more people were killed over the weekend.
The situation in lower Assam has been tense since early July, when two Bengali-speaking Muslim settlers were killed. Two more were killed on July 19, but the police failed to identify the killers. On July 20, four former Bodo Liberation Tigers men were killed. The Bodos retaliated by attacking Bengali-speaking settlers and the clashes began.
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