Gogoi points finger at Centre

From Our Correspondent & PTI

 Guwahati: Under attack over the large-scale violence in Assam where the toll reached 50 on Saturday, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi sought to point finger at the Centre for delay in army deployment saying the situation would not have deteriorated had it been deployed on the first day.

The Chief Minister said his government did not get any intelligence report from the Union Home Ministry that there was going to be such a flare-up.

“If they had, why didn’t they send the army immediately? We wanted the army from day one of the crisis and now when it is there, the situation is gradually limping back to normal,” Gogoi told a press conference here.

“The MHA hasn’t provided me with any intelligence report. I haven’t got any information that there is going to be such a flare-up,” he said.

To a question, Gogoi said the army could not be deployed from day one as certain procedures had to be followed. Officials in New Delhi acknowledged the delay in deployment of army led to spread of the clashes between Bodos and minority immigrants.

The Deputy Commissioners of Kokrajhar and Chirang districts, the worst-hit by the violence, had requested the local Army units on July 23 for deployment.

The local Army commanders, however, did not accept the request saying they needed an order from the Ministry of Defence, after which Assam Chief Secretary Naba Kumar Das sent separate letters to Union Home Secretary R K Singh and Defence Secretary Shashikant Sharma, they said.

“Finally, the troops were deployed two days later–on July 25. Had the Army personnel been deployed earlier, many lives could have been saved,” an official said.

Army could have reached the trouble spots within three to four hours as two major Army stations were located within a distance of 150 km from both Kokrajhar and Chirang.

Meanwhile in Kokrajhar district four bodies, were recovered from Gosaigaan town and one from Kokrajhar town, raising the toll to 50, police sources said.

“The Centre has assured 50 additional companies of forces,” the chief minister said.

He said that Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh would be arriving on Saturday to take stock of the situation.

In Baksa district, where clashes between minority immigrants and Bodos were reported yesterday, three houses were set on fire at Daodhar village, the sources said, adding there was, however, no casualty or injury.

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