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2 Haryana trucks torched in Assam
Strike brings life to halt in Kokrajhar

Kokrajhar (Assam), December 24
An angry mob in Assam today torched two trucks from Haryana in retaliation to the killing of three Bodo youths who clashed with Haryana policemen for allegedly sexually assaulting some women train passengers.

A police official said tribal Bodo activists in the western Assam district of Kokrajhar set on fire two trucks bearing Haryana registration numbers. No one was injured in the attack. Angry protesters also damaged some shops. The government has announced a probe into the incident.

A high-level inquiry by the lower Assam division Commissioner, besides a joint probe by the IGP of the Bodoland Territorial Administration Council area and Haryana police officials would be conducted into yesterday’s incident, state Health Minister Bhumidhar Barman, who visited the district, said.

“The police has already taken custody of the damaged trucks and we are providing additional security on the highways to prevent further attacks,” Kokrajhar District Magistrate H. Sharma said. The situation is said to be under control.

On Friday, Haryana policemen shot dead three youths in the Brahmaputra Mail near the Salakati railway station, about 290 km from Guwahati, in a clash over sexual assault on three Bodo girls.

A dawn-to-dusk general strike brought life to a halt in Gossaigaon town in Kokrajhar district, while activists of the All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) staged demonstrations seeking action against the errant policemen involved in the shootout.

“If we do not get justice within three days, we shall enforce a massive demonstration programme, including railway blockade. The situation is tense and people are restive,” ABSU president R. Narzary said.

The ABSU wants a judicial probe into the incident and exemplary punishment to the “culprits” who indulged in “molestation and later opened fire”.

“We want maximum security for the train passengers. We want women protected, not from thugs but from the security forces. Such incidents are happening regularly,” Narzary said.

Another powerful tribal political group, the Bodo People’s Progressive Front (BPPF), has called for a 12-hour general strike in Assam on Monday in protest against the killings.

The ABSU organised a public cremation of the three victims even as the security forces were put on maximum alert to prevent any untoward incident.

A Haryana policeman was also killed in the mob violence and three more of their colleagues were injured in the attack. Violence broke out when a Haryana police contingent sexually assaulted three tribal Bodo girls inside a running train.

A group of Bodo students that had boarded the train at Gossaigaon mobilised ABSU activists over mobile phones about the incident.

Hundreds of local persons halted the train at the nearby Salakati station and went on rampage trying to free the girls from the clutches of the policemen who were reported to be in inebriated state, witnesses said.

Sensing trouble, the Haryana Police team opened fire, killing three Bodo students who were trying to get down from the train.

A contingent of the Assam Police that reached the spot tried to pacify people, but a bullet fired from inside the train by Haryana policemen wounded the officer-in-charge of the Salakati police station.

The Haryana Police team was on way to Karbi Anglong district in Assam to undergo a training course with the Assam Rifles. — IANS, PTI


Six Haryana cops detained

Kokrajhar, December 24
Six Haryana police personnel were detained by the GRPF at Bongaigaon today in connection with yesterday’s alleged molestation of women and subsequent killing of three Bodo student activists at the Salakati railway station.

GRPF Superintendent of Police J.C. Koch said a GRPF Sub-Inspector was investigating into the case while he was camping there to oversee the probe. — UNI


IG sent to Guwahati
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 24
The Haryana Police has sent the Inspector-General of the Regional Training Centre, Bhondsi complex, Mr S.N. Vashisht, for an on-the-spot inquiry into the circumstances that led to a clash among jawans of the state’s Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) and students in Assam’s Kokrajhar district yesterday.

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