Congress Rajya Sabha member K Rehman Khan said after meeting the Home Minister on Thursday, "We have lost confidence in the state government and in its ability to control violence and that is why we have asked the Centre to intervene." He was part of a delegation that included Asrar ul Haq of the Congress, Tariq Anwar of the NCP and others. They have sought that a Central team be sent to Assam.
There are reports that Mr Gogoi is under pressure as some of his detractors are the members of the committee formed by the Congress to look into the violence. The Congress has also announced a manifesto committee. Sources say that Digvijaya Singh met Rahul Gandhi and discussed the issue.
The Congress has defended its Chief Minister, under attack from all sides now for failing to quell the ethnic violence. Senior leader Digvijaya Singh said, "Gogoi a sensible man, it was not appropriate for any VIP to go there initially." He accused the BJP of communalising the issue. The BJP has sent a team to Assam and has alleged that illegal immigration from Bangladesh is responsible for ethnic and communal discord. It has asked the government to seal the border with the neighbouring country.
The Centre says the situation has improved. With central paramilitary forces out in full force, the situation is volatile. But no incident of violence was reported overnight.
Home Minister P Chidambaram said there have been no casualties in the last 24 hours and has said he will speak to Chief Minister one the latter has reviewed the situation. The Home Secretary RK Singh said, "The Centre and the state government are both clear that any violence on any side that is instigated and results in any loss of life, the leaders on both the sides shall be made responsible." Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is also a Rajya Sabha MP from Assam, will visit the state on Saturday.
Tarun Gogoi met government officials and leaders of the two sides that have clashed - the Bodos and Bengali speaking Muslims, many of whom are believed to be illegal Bangladeshi migrants - at the Kokrajhar Circuit House. A Bodo leader UG Brahma said the CM should have visited earlier. "We demanded that he come earlier. Just after his coming here, the situation is turning normal," he said. Mr Brahma said the state government had allowed security lapses and failed to take timely initiative to ensure that the violence did not spread.
Local people say the situation on ground is still tense. A government official who tried to take relief material to a camp said he had been beaten up and his car was damaged by those who have taken shelter there. The government has set up 120 relief camps.
Towns have largely been secured, but there is much fear and uncertainty in villages; the exodus of people continues. Over 10,000 people have reportedly escaped to neighbouring West Bengal. (Assam riots: Inside a relief camp in Kokrajhar)
13 columns of the Army have been deployed in Kokrajhar, Chirang, Dhubri and Bongaigaon. Indefinite curfew and shoot-at-sight orders are also in place in these four districts of lower Assam, most affected by the violence. The Army on Wednesday mobilised about 1000 troops to enforce peace in the areas. Officials said troops were carrying out flag marches in these areas.
The situation had been tense since early July when two migrants were killed. Two more were killed on July 19, but police failed to identify the killers. On Friday last (July 20), four former Bodo Liberation Tigers men were killed. The Bodos retaliated by attacking migrants.
Become friends with your favourite NDTV people and shows. Start now »