Assam clash: Army conducts flag march in troubled areas

Delegation led by local MLA to meet CM for evicting people of “suspect” nationality.

Army personnel on Thursday carried out a flag march in the troubled areas of north-central Assam’s Sonitpur district where members of two communities clashed after a motorcycle rally organised by Bajrang Dal activists to celebrate the rituals for constructing the Ram temple in Ayodhya.

Also read | Ayodhya – Faith and dispute: the tale of a sacred town

The district authorities had clamped indefinite curfew in areas under Thelamara and Dhekiajuli police stations on Wednesday evening after the bikers crossed a minority-dominated area playing loud music and shouting slogans while on their way to a Shiva temple at Bharahingori.

Police said at least 20 people belonging to both communities were injured in the clash and several motorcycles set on fire on Wednesday evening. Some vehicles, including that of District Magistrate Manvendra Pratap Singh were also damaged.

“The situation is under control. We are keeping a close watch and adequate forces have been deployed,” Additional Director-General of Police (Law & Order) G.P. Singh said after a tour of the violence-hit areas about 140 km northeast of Guwahati.

Also read | Assam’s move to convert land for MSMEs draws flak

Local police officers said Army personnel from a nearby base staged a flag march during the day to instil confidence among people. They also said two people have been detained for questioning.

Badrul Islam, president of North East Minority Students’ Union, lauded the district authorities for acting swiftly in controlling the situation. “The government should find out how the bikers violated coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions by gathering in a large number and played loud music to which some locals objected,” he said.

BJP’s ‘suspicion’

Local BJP leaders, however, said the attackers were people of “suspect” nationality.

“A 15-member delegation led by Borsola MLA Ganesh Kumar Limbu will meet Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and seek eviction of the troublemakers,” said Ashok Singhal, BJP legislator from the Dhekiajuli Assembly constituency.

The areas under curfew are under the adjoining Borsola Assembly constituency that Mr Limbu represents for the BJP.

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