Dispur hard talk on killings

Guwahati/Dibrugarh, Feb 3 : Dispur has taken strong exception to “repeated misadventures” by the army, the latest being the killing of a physically challenged teenager at Sonari in Sivasagar district on Thursday, even as the district observed a bandh today in protest against the incident. 
The 12-hour bandh was called by the Assam Tea Tribes Students Association and the All Adivasi Students Association of Assam, two influential organisations representing the tea community to which Bishnu Tanti, the 18-year-old who died, belonged.
Chief minister Tarun Gogoi today said the government would not tolerate such acts of killing of innocents. Dispur has ordered an inquiry, to be conducted by Upper Assam commissioner L.N. Tamuli, into the incident.
“It is a very unfortunate incident and I have taken up the matter with the army. Killing of innocent people will not be tolerated and I made that very clear,” he said. Gogoi took up the matter with GOC 4 Corps, Lt Gen. K.T. Parnaik.
The inquiry by Dispur is in addition to a court of inquiry ordered by the army to ascertain the circumstances of the incident and fix responsibility for the killing. Initially, the army had termed the youth, who had to make an effort even to walk, as an Ulfa militant and had even claimed that a pistol had been recovered from his possession. 
The incident has left the police fuming, too. “Such repeated misadventures by the army leaves us facing the public music. The troops return to the barracks but it is we who have to face public ire and control any untoward situation that may arise,” a senior police official posted in Upper Assam said. 
“Such acts are unnecessary and avoidable and eventually only strengthen the militant hand... you cannot afford to be so trigger happy,” he added.
The police force was out in full strength today to quell any trouble during the bandh in Sivasagar. However, no violence was reported from any part of the district. Very few vehicles plied on the roads and government and other offices recorded thin attendance. The bandh had maximum impact in Charaideo subdivision but work at Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited and Gas Authority of India Limited, which have operations in the district, was almost normal.
The Tingalibam tea estate unit of the All Assam Tea Tribes Students Association took out a procession to protest against the killing by the army’s 318 Field Regiment. Tanti was a resident of the garden.
Hundreds of slogan-shouting protesters carrying placards and banners took part in the procession. They demanded strict and exemplary punishment to the guilty army personnel.