GUWAHATI, Aug 28 � The All Assam Minorities Students� Union (AAMSU) sponsored Assam bandh today was marred by incidents of violence in different parts of the State resulting in the death of one person in Barpeta, while, police had to open fire in the air in a number of places to bring the situation under control.
The bandh was by and large peaceful in Guwahati city and only some rumour mongers created apprehensions in the minds of the people.
Different parts of Assam, particularly the lower Assam districts and Sonitpur witnessed large scale violence by bandh supporters and one Gyanendra Mandal of Khairabari area of Barpeta district was killed in mob violence today. Police sources said that the trouble started when a group of bandh supporters tried to impose the bandh in Barpeta, which resulted in a clash between shopkeepers and bandh supporters.
Sources said that miscreants set fire to at least 30 houses following the clashes and later, police had to open fire to bring the situation under control, in which one person was injured. Police and security force reinforcements have been rushed to the affected areas to bring the situation under control.
The bandh supporters also turned violent in other parts of the State. In Tezpur, bandh supporters set fire to a police vehicle and damaged the vehicle of a civil servant, forcing the administration to impose indefinite curfew in the Tezpur police station area.
Giving details of the incidents in Sonitpur, police sources said that the clashes started when a group of bandh supporters tried to impose bandh in Tezpur town this morning, which resulted in a clash between the shopkeepers and bandh supporters. Two bandh supporters, who were injured in the incident were admitted to hospital. But at least two thousand persons armed with lethal weapons came out to the National Highway from the Bhojkhowa char area and attacked police. The officer in charge of Tezpur police station, Tapas Chakraborty was injured in the incident while his vehicle was set on fire. The vehicle of an ACS officer was also damaged by the mob and his driver was seriously injured in the incident. At least six police personnel, who received injuries, had to be hospitalized.
Police sources said that the administration had to impose curfew in Tezpur police station area following the incident and 16 persons have been picked up so far for their involvement in the clashes.
In Jogighopa area in Bongaigaon area, police first lathicharged a mob which tried to impose bandh forcefully and unable to control the situation, rubber bullets and tear gas shells were fired to bring the situation under control. Four persons were injured in the incident and one of them was sent to Gauhati Medical College Hospital for treatment.
In Hatipota area under Chapar police station, police had to fire in the air when a group of bandh supporters were threatening to turn violent, while, tear gas shells were fired in Gauripur town in the same district to bring the situation under control.
Goalpara district also witnessed violence with bandh supporters turned violent while trying to forcefully impose the bandh , which resulted in a clash and police fired in the air to disperse the mob.
In Sivasagar also, police had to resort to lathicharge to bring the situation under control when a group of bandh supporters were turning violent in their attempt to impose bandh.
Meanwhile, the bandh was peaceful in Guwahati city and most of the shops and business establishments opened shutters later part of the day after keeping a watch on the situation for some time. Most of the schools remained closed as the school authorities did not take the risk of plying the school buses, while, two trains were affected.
Our Tezpur Correspondent adds: Normal life was paralyzed and curfew has been clamped in areas under Tezpur police station as the bandh call given by AAMSU demanding scrapping of BTC and arrest of BTC chief Hagrama Mohilary turned violent.
According the information available a twenty member bandh supporters came to the town and near Mohabhairab Temple they asked the businessmen to shut down shutters of their business establishments. As they refused to obey the bandh supporters all of a sudden attacked the businessmen of the area. In retaliatory attack an AAMSU activist was seriously injured.
Our Goalpara Correspondent adds: Police fired tear gas shells and resort to six rounds of blank fire to disperse a rampaging mob in the municipality town area around 9.30 am today. The situation gradually began to deteriorate when supporters in large numbers began to converge on the town from the outskirts almost creating a panic situation among the local residents.
Eyewitnesses and unconfirmed reports claim that 6 people were injured in the incident.
Talking to this correspondent, Shymal Saikia , superintendent of police who was handling the situation said that timely intervention by the security personnel were able to control the already tense situation from aggravating further.He also said as a part of confidence building measures, he along with a core peace group comprising members of both the communities have already started peace initiatives especially in the outskirts of the town by organising meetings with the locals to restore peace and harmony in the district.