CM admits lapses, orders 2 inquiries

Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi here on Wednesday admitted lapses in assessment of the situation in trouble-torn Goalapara district where death toll has gone up to 19 on Wednesday.
Suspecting political conspiracy behind the unrest, Mr Gogoi told reporters that over 100 houses were also set on fire, which has forced nearly 1,000 people to flee their homes in different parts of the district.
Clarifying that 12 people were killed in the police firing, Mr Gogoi said that only seven people have been killed in ethnic clashes, which has now been brought under control.
Informing that curfew has been clamped in some more areas of the district to prevent the clashes from escalating, Mr Gogoi said that they have ordered judicial probe to look into the lapses and CBI probe to investigate the criminal conspiracy that led to violence.
Justifying his decision of holding panchayat elections, Mr Gogoi said that even after violent protest, polling was held on 68 per cent polling stations. “There were only 18 polling stations in the Rabha-Hasong area where no nomination paper was filed following the boycott call of Joint Action Committee of Rabha Hasong,” he said while arguing that it also implies that majority of the people wanted panchayat elections.
He also accused his political opponents of encouraging people to boycott elections. “We were duty bound to hold the election but Opposition was trying to derive political mileage by not fielding candidates in Rabha-Hasong areas,” said CM who announced that his government would rehabilitate all those displaced in clashes. Informing that additional companies of security forces and Army have reached the trouble-torn areas, he said, “Violence was reported in 22 places. I agree the security preparations for the elections could have been better. I take full responsibility (for the violence).” He said that a group of ministers headed by Congress leader Bhumidhar Barman has already reached in trouble-torn areas and working out strategy to defuse the tension between Rabhas and non-Rabhas.

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