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Tribals storm Guwahati
1 killed, 200 hurt in clashes
Bijay Sankar Bora
Tribune News Service

Guwahati, November 24
Curfew was imposed in a part of Guwahati city after mob violence claimed at least one life and left as many as 200 persons injured near the Capital Complex here this afternoon. The toll is likely to increase as the condition of some of the injured was stated to be critical.

The clash broke out after local people retaliated to violence perpetrated by protesting members of the All-Adivasi Students Association of Assam (AASAA) along the busy Dispur-Basistha road at around 12.30 p.m.

Kamrup deputy commissioner Avinash Joshi confirmed only one death and informed that as many as 200 injured persons had been admitted to Guwahati Medical College Hospital. He said the condition of many injured was critical.

Eyewitnesses, however, claimed that at least seven AASAA protesters were lynched and as many as 200 others were injured as angry public pounced upon Adivasi protesters, who had damaged over 300 cars on the road, hundreds of shops along Dispur-Basistha Road besides molesting unsuspecting women and girls on the road.

The police later resorted to blank fire and lathicharge to disperse the mob even as curfew was clamped in the area behind State Assembly complex to Basistha Chariali on the National Highway bypass to bring the situation under control.

Chief minister Tarun Gogoi, while condemning the incident, called upon all sections of society to remain vigilant and maintain communal harmony.

State DGP R.N Mathur, who had rushed to the violence-affected area, said the AASAA had been given permission for holding a protest meeting in the city but not for taking out a procession along the busy Basistha-Dispur Road. He said security had been beefed up in the city through massive deployment of police and paramilitary forces following the incident and the situation had been brought under control.

Bus loads of Adivasi protesters had converged upon Bongaon High School campus in the Beltola area in the city this morning to take part in a demonstration to press for their demand for Scheduled Tribe status.

Locals said timely action on the part of the police could have prevented the situation from getting out of control. Thousands of Adivasi protesters took out a procession around noon on way to the Capital Complex. The agitators suddenly went berserk and damaged over 300 vehicles on the road, ransacked roadside shops and houses and misbehaved with women.

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