Golaghat (Assam), Aug 21: The indefinite curfew imposed in Golaghat district today in the wake of yesterday’s border flare-up was relaxed for a few hours in the evening even as police fired in the air and burst tear gas shells to disperse protesters trying to block NH-39 at Numaligarh. The curfew would be lifted from 6 am tomorrow after the seven agitating organisations decided to withdraw their indefinite stir in protest against border violence and alleged police inaction, an offical spokesman of the district administrtion said.
During the day, marked by a 12-hour bandh called by opposition AGP and some other organisations besides the indefinite curfew, the Army continued its flag march in Golaghat town to maintain law and order. “The seven organisations held talks with Golghat DC, SP and state PWD Minister Ajanta Neog. They finally decided to end their agitation and in return, the administration will lift the curfew,” the official spokesperson said.
The official said the curfew was relaxed from 5:30 pm to 9 pm today and it will be lifted from 6 am tomorrow. A delegation of the seven organisations, which includes AJYCP, KMSS and ATTSA, will go to Guwahati tomorrow and meet Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. It will be facilitated by Neog, he said. Earlier during the day, a large group of people tried to block the National Highway-39 with tree branches in defiance of the indefinite curfew clamped yesterday and threw stones at police vehicles damaging one of them and injuring a policeman.
The police said protesters shouted slogans against alleged firing by police late last night at Numaligarh and injury to an innocent person, an incident which had no official confirmation. The police burst tear gas shells and fired in the air to disperse the protesters and none was injured. The Army staged flag marches from Golaghat town to Rangajan, Bokakhat and Numaligarh on trucks mounted with guns and red flags.
Meanwhile, Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju today held a meeting here with Assam and Nagaland Chief Ministers, where it was decided to work out a joint mechanism to defuse recurring tension along the border between the two states. Addressing the media jointly with Chief Minister of Assam Tarun Gogoi and his Nagaland counterpart T R Zeliang after the meeting, Rijiju said, “A joint mechanism will be worked out at a senior level. Senior officials from both states will meet frequently at a designated place so that no lapses occur in future. The mechanism will be worked out as soon as possible.”
On the deployment of the neutral force CRPF along the disputed Assam-Nagaland border, the Minister said, “We are looking to reinforce the central forces. We need to deploy more CRPF men there”. He assured of help whenever the Chief Ministers want it. On allegations about the role of the CRPF during the recent trouble at Uriamghat border, he said, “We will take action if anyone from our forces does not work as per the standard procedure”.
The two chief ministers on their part promised to work closely to defuse tension and avoid untoward incidents along the interstate border in future. The 12-hour Assam bandh called by the Opposition Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the Assam Tea Tribes Students’ Association paralysed normal life across the state. There was no report of any bandh-related incidents so far from any part of the state though a strict vigil was being maintained by security forces to prevent any untoward incident, a police spokesman said here.
All shops, business houses and educational institutions remained closed and vehicular traffic remained off the roads. Rail and air services, however, remained unaffected. The Assam unit of the BJP extended support to the bandh and burnt an effigy of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi here after taking out a procession. The border unrest is a fallout of the killing of nine people on August 12 at Uriamghat in the district in firing by miscreants from neighbouring Nagaland. Over 200 houses were set ablaze rendering 10,000 people homeless.