Police firing in Assam, Goalpara toll climbs to 5

Guwahati, April 30: A villager was killed and 11 others injured when police opened fire for the second day on Tuesday to control a mob which attacked and seriously injured over 20 policemen and set ablaze three police vehicles in Assam's Sonitpur district.

The toll in Monday’s violence in curfew-bound Goalpara district, meanwhile, rose to five with the recovery of two bodies on Tuesday.

The clash between police and irate locals broke out at Baghmari in lower Assam's Sonitpur district in the early hours when people from various 'char' (riverine) areas and other villagers, angry over the blocking of a private road by a PSU attacked and injured over 20 policemen and set ablaze three police vehicles, official sources said.

This was sequel to a long-standing dispute between a unit of Power Grid Corporation of India and the villagers on the use of private road passing through the plant.

When PGCIL blocked the road by putting up a boundary wall, the villagers attacked the plant's employees.

When the police arrived at the spot at around 5.30 AM, the mob turned its ire on the personnel and seriously injured more than 20 of them, the sources said.

The police first fired rubber bullets to control the mob, which threw stones and set ablaze three police vehicles.

The police then opened fire in which one villager was killed and 11 others were injured, they said.

Later, the mob blocked NH 52 which connects the district headquarters Tezpur to Dhemaji and other parts of Arunachal Pradesh at Baghmari demanding Rs 20 lakh compensation for the dead, the sources said.

Sonitpur district deputy commissioner Tapan Chandra Sarma said some 'ill-motivated' people had instigated the villagers against PGCIL.

The sources said the 45-year old victim, who died on the spot at Baghmari, was identified and six of the injured were admitted to a local hospital, while two others were sent to Gauhati Medical College Hospital.

In Goalpara, the body of a person reported missing since Monday’s violence was recovered from the Mailapathar area near Rakshashini forest, police said.

The body of another person who was reportedly set on fire along with his motorcycle was recovered from the same area after midnight last night, the sources said, adding both the persons were killed by unidentified attackers and not in police firing.

Though the situation is under control despite the tension, the indefinite curfew clamped in Forest Gate and Mailapathar police station areas continued for the second consecutive day.

Violence had erupted at Mailapathar after the body of a 50-year old cowherd, who was missing since the day before, was recovered on Monday.

The mob that came out to protest the killing of the cowherd turned violent and attacked policemen injuring five of them, including Goalpara police superintendent S.P.Saikia and deputy superintendent of police Debojit Nath.

To disperse the mob, police opened fire and two people were killed and over ten others injured.

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