Prohibitory orders were imposed on Assam's Hailakandi town after communal clashes broke out between two religious communities outside a mosque today. Sources said rioters threw stones and set vehicles ablaze, forcing the police to launch a baton-charge and fire warning shots in the air.
A few days ago, unidentified people damaged the vehicles of people visiting the mosque. The mosque management had filed a police complaint at the time. This afternoon, a group of youngsters allegedly began throwing stones at devotees who had assembled outside the mosque in Marwari Patty area to offer prayers. As many as 15 people, including three constables, were injured in the violence that followed.
Several shops in the area were also vandalised.
A press release issued by the district authorities said that the prohibitory orders were issued in view of "grave risk to human life and property" if free movement of people was allowed. "An emergency has arisen, necessitating immediate action to ensure speedy resumption of public order and tranquility. Therefore, considering the above facts and circumstances, section 144 of the CrPC (has been imposed) along with orders that nobody without a special permit can go about in public or leave their house within the limits of Hailakandi town with effect from 1:00 pm of 10th May, 2019," the order signed by District Magistrate Keerthi Jalli read.
Additional security forces have been rushed to Hailakandi from Silchar and Karimganj, sources added.
Hailakandi town, situated in Barak Valley, saw intensive campaigning along religious lines during the ongoing Lok Sabha elections. The National Register of Citizens, a government initiative aimed at identifying illegal immigrants, has also become a matter of much consternation in the region.
Over 77 people were killed when clashes broke out between Bodos and Bengali-speaking Muslims in Assam's Kokrajhar, Dhubri and Chirang districts on July 20, 2012. The Bodo community blamed the violence on illegal immigration over the years.
(With inputs from Agencies)