Assam violence: PM called up Gogoi, urged stern action
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As ethnic violence in some parts of Assam worsened over the weekend, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had to be prodded into action by the Centre with the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh himself delivering a strong message through a phone call on Tuesday.
It is reliably learnt that Singh told Gogoi to deal with the situation with a firm hand and bring an end to the violence in Kokrajhar and the adjoining districts as soon as possible. The ethnic clashes over the last several days has claimed 46 lives so far, with four bodies found today, while 11 people are reported to be missing.
The Prime Minister has decided to visit the affected areas in Kokrajhar on Saturday, Home Minister P Chidambaram said today. Sources said the proactive intervention from the Centre — despite the fact that Assam is a Congress-ruled state and that law and order is a state subject — followed reports from intelligence agencies that the state government had been slightly slow in dealing with the situation.
Meanwhile, the violence, in which Muslims were the main targets, has got Muslim politicians united. A group of Muslim MPs, led by Congress Rajya Sabha MP from Karnataka K Rahman Khan, sent a memorandum to the Prime Minister demanding the "immediate dissolution of the Bodo-Territorial Council", while blaming the state government for failing to take adequate measures to prevent the situation.
Six Muslim MPs from across the political spectrum also met Chidambaram, requesting that the Centre should step in and take more proactive action in ensuring relief and rehabilitation for the over 200,000 displaced people living in relief camps.
"It is extremely unfortunate and sad that Muslims have been targeted in this holy month of Ramzan. It seems to be a calculated design to wipe out the Muslim population from the area. We are extremely concerned and want the Centre to play a more active role in restoring normalcy in the state," Rahman Khan said.
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