Assam's Rabha areas still tense, toll rises to 21

Last Updated: Thu, Feb 14, 2013 16:00 hrs

Guwahati, Feb 14 (IANS) Curfew was relaxed but tension prevailed in Rabha community areas in Assam's Goalpara and Kamrup districts even as the toll in panchayat poll-related violence rose to 21 with the discovery of another body Thursday, said officials.

There was no fresh violence since Wednesday evening except for one incident at Gobindapur area in Goalpara where some inmates of a relief camp attacked a delegation of the Congress, reaching there to take stock of the situation.

Congress leader and former MP Anowar Hussain and his security personnel received injuries during the attack, police said adding that the inmates also partially damaged the vehicle of the delegation. Hussain's condition is, however, out of danger now.

"There had been no fresh incidents in last 24 hours and the situation is under control. Curfew had been relaxed in most of the violence affected areas except for areas under two police stations - Krishnai and Mornoi in Goalpara district," said Assam's Home Secretary G.D. Tripathy.

He said that one more body was recovered during the day taking the death toll to 21.

The administration had set up 12 relief camps in Goalpara district and they are housing about 10,000 people, he added.

Violence broke out in Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council (RHAC) areas Tuesday when the government tried to hold panchayat polls in the areas, despite stiff opposition from the Rabha community organizations, who had been demanding elections to the RHAC since a long time.

Security forces opened firing in a bid to save polling officials from being lynched by the angry mob, which led to more violence and damage to public property.

Tripathy confirmed that while 14 people were killed in firing by the police and security forces, the other seven were killed in attacks by the miscreants.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had Wednesday admitted lapses on the part of the government for the violence in RHAC but termed it a "political conspiracy".

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