Assam announces CBI probe into Guwahati riots

Guwahati(IANS) : The Assam government Saturday announced a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the ethnic rioting here Nov 24 that left one person dead and around 250 injured.

The government also decided on financial packages for the development of six ethnic groups in the state.

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“We have asked the CBI to probe the circumstances into the clashes between some Adivasi (tribal people) protestors and a section of local residents. The judicial enquiry we have ordered will go on simultaneously if necessary,” Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi told journalists here.

Protestors under the banner of the All Assam Adivasi Students Association (AAASA) vandalized shops and damaged vehicles during their protest march in the city, sparking retaliation by residents.

An Adivasi protestor died in the clashes. A woman from among the demonstrators was stripped naked before she was rescued by an Assamese youth and handed over to the police for safety.

The AAASA is among other Adivasi and tea plantation workers’ community demanding Scheduled Tribe status for the tribal community in Assam.

The central government has rejected the demand on the ground the Adivasis were migrants and not indigenous to the state.

“We shall also look into the conspiracy angle to ascertain if any force was behind the violence to divide the society in Assam and corner the Congress party,” the chief minister said.

Gogoi announced exclusive financial packages for six ethnic groups in the state – Tea Tribes (including Adivasis), Ahom, Moran, Chutia, Motok and the Koch-Rajbongshi communities.

He did not elaborate on the packages but said the initiative is aimed at ushering in economic progress and development of the people belonging to these communities.

“We shall move the centre for funds for this purpose,” he said.

The ruling Congress is in a spot ahead of panchayat polls beginning this month as people belonging to the Tea Tribes have been its traditional supporters.

People belonging to the tea garden communities wield influence over nearly 20 of Assam’s 126 assembly constituencies.