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Assam to seek CBI probe into ethnic clashes


Guwahati : Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi Saturday sought a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the ethnic clashes in the state last week in which 55 people were killed and more than 200,000 were displaced.

“I will insist on a CBI probe to find out who instigated the violence and why it happened,” the chief minister told journalists. “The culprits involved in the clashes must be identified and punished.”

The chief minister said of the 55 killed in three days of ethnic clashes last week in Assam’s Udalguri and Darrang districts, 24 died in separate incidents of police firing. The clashes were between Bodo tribals and Muslims.

“We are committed to protecting people of all communities and providing relief and rehabilitation to the displaced people,” Gogoi said. More than 2,500 houses were either torched or damaged in the clashes in 54 villages, the chief minister said.

“It was unfortunate to find provocative statements by leaders like (the Bharatiya Janata Party’s) L.K. Advani about the Assam government allowing Muslims to kill tribal people. Such remarks only make the situation bad,” Gogoi said.

Meanwhile, a three-member team deputed by Congress party president Sonia Gandhi arrived in Guwahati Saturday to make an on-the-spot assessment of the recent ethnic clashes.

The team led by union Minister of State for Home Shakeel Ahmed will visit the two districts Sunday and meet officials and victims of the ethnic clashes and later submit a detailed report to the party president.

The other members of the team are former Arunchal Pradesh chief minister Mukut Mithi and A.H. Khan Choudhury, a Congress MP from West Bengal.

“We shall review and assess the situation and go back and submit a report to (Congress chief) Sonia Gandhi,” Ahmed said.

The overall situation in the violence-hit areas remains calm although tension still continues.