Assam is on an edge. There have been fresh clashes and cases of arson and more people have died in ethnic violence. Shoot-at-sight orders are in place in four districts.
The Army has staged flag marches in the four violence-hit districts of Assam on Wednesday even as the death toll reached 38 after five people were gunned down on Tuesday after shoot-at-sight orders were issued. Over 80,000 people have fled their homes and are staying in relief camps following the communal violence that has engulfed Chirang, Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon and Dhubri districts of Assam.
Sources say two officials from the Union Home Ministry will be speaking to the two warring sides in Dhubri and Kokrajhar on Wednesday. Union Home Ministry sources expect the situation to improve today because of the additional troops on the ground.
The state government has deployed 1500 paramilitary personnel with orders to shoot-at-sight in the riot-hit areas. The riots have continued unabated for the last four days.
Even though security has been stepped up, incidents of arson and rioting have been reported from villages of Dhubri and Pakhgiuri. Over 400 villages have been affected and authorities fear that violence could spread.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had on Tuesday called the Chief Minister of Assam, Tarun Gogoi, instructing him to do whatever it takes to restore peace.
On Tuesday, some unidentified persons pelted stones and attacked the coaches of the Guwahati-bound Rajdhani Express train at Gossaigaon in Kokrajhar district.
Around four bogies of the train got damaged in the attack. However, there were no reports of any casualties.
Following the attack on the Rajdhani Express, the train was turned back and taken to Coochbehar. Train services have been severely hit due to the rail blockades.
The root cause of the violence, however, still remains unexplained.
There are some reports of land encroachment problems, some of outsiders fuelling attacks but no one is sure what led to the violence. The trigger though took place in a village called Joypur on Friday where four people where hacked to death. After that, attacks and counter attacks have spread like wildfire.
Things took a communal turn when four former cadres of the disbanded insurgent outfit Bodoland Liberation Tigers were attacked by a mob and hacked to death.