Guwahati, Feb 10: The was called out and an indefinite curfew was imposed tonight after a 15,000-strong mob set ablaze the Kakopathar station and pelted stones at passing and securitymen leading to police firing, which resulted in a number of casualties, in Assam’s Tinsukia distict. Eyewitnesses said three villagers were killed in the police firing and a CRPF in the stoning by the mob which was protesting the death of suspected ULFA linkman Ajit Mahanta allegedly in army custody on Sunday.
Official sources confirmed that there were casualties in the firing but declined to state the exact number killed or injured. Residents of Kakopathar, from where Mahanta hailed, and nearby villages have blocked National Highway 52 since Monday in protest against Mahanta’s death and the army’s allegation that he was an ULFA linkman. The villagers, who claimed Mahanta was an innocent man, have also dug up the highway that links Lohit district of with the rest of the country.Tinsukia Deputy Commissioner Gautam Ganguly told PTI that the army has been called in to assist the civil and indefinite curfew imposed in Kakopathar. The district administration, he said, was considering the possibility of imposing curfew in the entire Tinsukia district as there were reports that the villagers were regrouping to launch further attacks on security personnel. The protestors were demanding that Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and Governor Lt Gen (Retd) Ajai Singh personally assure them that there would be no more killing of innocent villagers in the name of counter-insurgency.