Prime Minister’s Rs300cr ‘healing touch’ to victims of Assam riots
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced a Rs300 crore package for the riot-hit districts of Assam and promised a probe into the violence between Bodos and immigrant settlers.
‘A proper inquiry will be held into the tragic circumstances. We will address the causes of the conflict. If it is instigated, the guilty will be punished,’ the Prime Minister said in Kokrajhar after meeting the riot-affected people in relief camps.
‘This (ethnic violence) should not have happened. This is a blot on our nation,’ Singh told reporters soon after his arrival in the state.
The Prime Minister said the Centre would work closely with the state government to provide security to all affected areas so that people can go back to their houses with the knowledge that their lives and livelihood are secure.
‘We are one people and one nation and we must live together. We must restore peace and calm throughout the area and I ask all of you to work with the government to ensure this,’ Singh said, adding that a healing touch was the need of the hour.
Out of the Rs300 crore package, Rs100 crore would be for relief and rehabilitation of the affected people in the six districts, Rs100 crore as special plan assistance for development programmes in the affected areas and another Rs100 crore under the Indira Awas Yojana.
As for individual assistance, Rs30,000 each would be given to those whose houses were completely damaged and Rs20,000 to those whose houses were partially burnt, Singh said.
The Prime Minister said Rs2 lakh would be given to the next of kin of those who died and Rs50,000 to the injured.
The death toll increased to 58 on Saturday as six bodies were recovered from Chirang and Kokrajhar districts.
One body was recovered from the banks of the Kanibhur river in Chirang district while five bodies were found in Durabari village in Kokrajhar district.
On July 25, a relief camp in Durabari was torched by miscreants around 3 am and all the 5,000 inmates fled.
‘They hurled grenades at our homes and fired indiscriminately. They wanted to drive us away from our villages. We could identify four of them and they are former members of the Bodo Liberation Tigers,’ Naushad Ali said.
Ali, 28, is a jawan in the army who came home in Durabari on leave. Meanwhile, Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi appeared to take a U-turn on the Centre’s delay in deploying the army.
When reporters asked the Prime Minister about Gogoi’s charge against the Centre, the CM almost snatched the camera from journalists and screamed: ‘I never said that.’