Guwahati/Kokrajhar, Jul 27: As the situation in the riot-torn districts in lower Assam showed signs of improvement, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today said the situation would not have deteriorated had the Army been deployed from day one.
“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 reporters here. Addressing a press conference here today, he said 45 persons lost their lives in the worst crisis his government faced.
He said the government had taken all steps to maintain law and order and four ministers were camping in worst hit Kokrajjhar town.
A body was today found floating in river Gouranga in Dhubri district while 11 people were reported missing, official sources said.
In Baksa district, where clashes between minority immigrants and Bodos were reported only yesterday, three houses were set on fire at Simla in Daodhar village, they said. There was, however, no casualty or injury. In the other three riot-torn BTAD districts of Kokrajhar, Chirang and Dhubri, stray attacks and counter-attacks by the two communities continued.
Curfew was relaxed today in Kokrajhar district from 6 AM to 6 PM, while it was relaxed from 8 AM to 10 PM in the minority-dominated Dhubri district as the Army continued to stage flag marches in Kokrajhar district. Night curfew will continue in Chirang, the sources said.
To a question, Gogoi said the Army could not be deployed from day one as certain procedures had to be followed.
Yesterday, Joint Secretary in the Union Home Ministry Sambhu Singh had said in Kokrajhar that there was delay in deployment of the Army and there was lack of adequate forces in the districts initially.
“If on the first day, the Army had done area domination, the situation would not have turned so grave, but sometimes this takes time,” Singh had said.
“The Centre has assured 50 additional companies of forces and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is coming tomorrow to take stock of the situation,” the chief minister said.
Gogoi insisted, “It is not ethnic clash. Miscreants have taken advantage of the situation. We will take strict action.” Train services, which resumed on Wednesday after being paralysed for two days, were reported normal. Nearly two lakh people have taken shelter in 250 relief camps, the sources said.
Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said 55 more doctors have been sent to relief camps in the five districts of Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Chirang, Baksa and Dhubri in addition to the medical staff sent yesterday. Already a team of doctors from the Guwahati Medical College was working in Kokrajhar.
Sarma said though there was adequate supply of medicines in the affected districts, four more trucks of medicines have been sent as a precautionary measure.