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Police kill two near Assam-Nagaland border, judicial probe ordered

Police kill two near Assam-Nagaland border, judicial probe ordered

Guwahati: Two people were killed Wednesday when police fired at protestors in Assam near the border with Nagaland, leading to curfew in Golaghat district, officials said. Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has ordered a judicial probe into the firing, while regional political party AGP has called for a 12-hour dawn-to-dusk shutdown Thursday.

Hundreds of men and women took to the streets in Rongajan and Arengapathar areas in the district to denounce "police atrocities" Tuesday which left one person dead and 20 injured.

The trouble erupted over a border conflict between the two states.

On Wednesday, police first used batons to disperse the crowd but failed to restore order.

The crowd became unruly and attacked many vehicles on the roads in Rongajan. They also targeted public property, a police official said.

This forced police to fire at the mob, he said.

Of the 14 injured, nine were taken to the Jorhat Medical College Hospital, said Assam Home Commissioner G.D. Tripathy.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi Wednesday blamed the central government for the trouble along the Assam-Nagaland border and said the Narendra Modi government had not taken the issue seriously.

"It was unfortunate that one person died. We have ordered an inquiry and a senior police official has been suspended," Gogoi said.

"The neutral force (CRPF) deployed in the border is responsible for law and order," he went on.

"I take my responsibility as chief minister but the Centre, particularly the home minister, is also responsible. They have not been taking the matter as seriously as they should have," Gogoi said.

Gogoi said he had taken up the matter with his Nagaland counterpart T.R. Zeliang. He asked police to use non-lethal weapons like rubber bullets and water cannons while dealing with mass protests.

Police had Tuesday used batons and fired rubber bullets to disperse an equally emotive mob.

One demonstrator was run over by a speeding truck as he tried to escape the police baton-charge in Rongajan. This inflamed passions further.

Gogoi said he has decided to institute a judicial probe by a retired judge of the Gauhati High Court into the police firing in Golaghat district Wednesday.

"We would leave no stone unturned to find out the truth behind the firing incident," the chief minister said in a statement.

Gogoi also appealed to individuals, organisations, political leaders and the media to exercise restraint and to join in the government's efforts to restore normalcy in the violence affected areas.

"I appeal to everyone to cooperate with the government in bringing back peace to the affected areas. It is only through dialogue and understanding that we can resolve our problems amicably," he said.

Assam's regional political party Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) has called for a 12-hour dawn to dusk shutdown Tursday protesting the state government's failure to protect the people living in the Assam-Nagaland border, against "police atrocities" and the central government's silence over the crisis.

The shutdown will begin from 5 a.m., AGP president Atul Bora told reporters.

All emergency services including medical, media, issues related to relief camps, examinees, water and food and civil supplies, were exempted, he said.

The AGP will also stage protest demonstrations across the state Friday and a "Border Chalo" programme Aug 25 demanding security for the people there.

"The problem on the Assam-Nagaland border has been continuing for a long time but Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has not done anything to solve the crisis. The government today (Wednesday) asked police and security forces to attack innocent civilians in the most brutal manner," Bora said.

The party also sent letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, seeking their immediate intervention in the matter.

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