Guwahati, Aug 7 (IANS): Hinting that some "external forces" were behind the communal clashes in three districts, the Assam government on Tuesday said it has decided for a CBI probe in the violence, which left 73 people dead and over four lakh people displaced.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi told media persons here that there were external and internal forces behind the violence between Bodo tribals and Muslim settlers.
The clashes started in Kokrajhar and Chirang districts of the Bodoland Territorial Area District (BTAD) and later spread to contiguous Dhubri district.
"Some external forces have always been active in Assam to create some sort of disturbances in the State," said Gogoi and added that the government has already started the process to hand over the probe to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The Chief Minister said that the situation has improved in the violence-affected areas but he also expressed concern over the recent fresh incidents of violence in Kokrajhar district.
"We are worried over the recent incidents of violence. I have instructed the chief secretary and other officials to deal with the situation strictly," said Gogoi. "We have to deal with the situation strictly. Police have already arrested 170 people for indulging in the violence. I have also instructed the police in BTAD to seize all the illegal arms and ammunition, if found in possession with civilians and other anti-social elements," he said. Police have also been instructed to go for preventive arrests if required, he added.
Gogoi said that the deaths in the violence have gone up to 73, including 15 killed in relief camps and four in police firing. Of the 15 killed in relief camp, seven were children, he said.
The Chief Minister said that 65 companies of para-military forces were deployed in the affected districts at present and that a total of 1.17 lakh people have already returned to their houses from the relief camps. Gogoi also said that 95 police pickets have already been set up in all the sensitive areas of the districts and that the remaining pickets will be set up soon.