Kokrajhar: The government is making a bid to bring warring factions to the talking table as the ethnic violence in Assam spreads from Kokrajhar to three other districts all the way to the Bengal border. Sources say two officials from the Home Ministry will be speaking to the two sides in Dhubri and Kokrajhar on Wednesday.
More than 80,000 people have been displaced as homes were sent on fire, a majority have shifted to relief camps. The death toll in the violence has gone up to 38. Adding to the panic, 1,500 more paramilitary personnel have been rushed in with orders to shoot at sight.
The Army staged a flag march on Wednesday morning in Dhubri, Kokrajhar, Chirang and Bongaigaon, the first since violence began four days ago.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had on Tuesday called the Chief Minister of Assam, Tarun Gogoi, instructing him to do whatever it takes to restore peace.
Gogoi has accepted the responsibility for the break down of law and order, but he has refused to resign. Spaeking to IBN18 Editor-in-Chief Rajdeep Sardesai, Gogoi said, "Do you think I should run away? I am a general fighting in a war. I will be the last one to resign. If I have to resign I will do it subsequently, not now."
On Tuesday, some unidentified persons pelted stones and attacked the coaches of the Guwahati-bound Rajdhani at Gossaigaon in Kokrajhar district.
Around four bogies of the train got damaged in the attack. However, there were no reports of any casualties.
Following the attack on the Rajdhani Express, the train was turned back and taken to Coochbehar. Train services have been severely hit due to the rail blockades.
The root cause of the violence, however, still remains unexplained.
There are some reports of land encroachment problems, some of outsiders fuelling attacks but no one is sure what led to the violence. The trigger though took place in a village called Joypur on Friday where four people where hacked to death. After that, attacks and counter attacks have spread like wildfire.
Things took a communal turn when four former cadres of the disbanded insurgent outfit Bodoland Liberation Tigers were attacked by a mob and hacked to death.