Kokrajhar (Assam): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who visited the violence-affected areas of Assam on Saturday, termed the ethnic riot as a “blot on the nation”.
While announcing a special package of Rs 300 cr for the violence-hit survivors PM said “a sense of security should be instilled among people in all affected areas.”
He announced Rs 100 crore for relief and rehabilitation of the affected people in the six affected districts, Rs 100 crore as Special Plan assistance for development programmes in the affected areas and another Rs 100 crore under the Indira Awas Yojana.
Rs 30,000 each would be given to those whose houses were completely damaged, Rs 20,000 under the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund to those whose houses were partially damaged, he added.
Singh said that Rs two lakhs would be given to the next of kin of those who died and Rs 50,000 to the injured.
“This (ethnic violence) should not have happened. This is a blot on our nation”, Singh told reporters soon after his arrival here to share the grief of the survivors of the widespread clashes between Bodos and immigrant settlers.
After meeting the survivors of the violence in a relief camp here, Singh said, “the pain and suffering the recent incidents have caused to a large number of people have saddened all of us. The ethnic conflict which occurred is unacceptable and must come to a stop”.
The Prime Minister said the Centre will “closely work with the state government to provide a sense of security to all affected areas to ensure that they can go back to their houses secure in the knowledge that their lives and livelihood are secure”.
“We are one people and one nation and we must live together as such. 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 “healing touch” was the need of the hour.
While stressing on the need for addressing the causes of the conflict PM said, “if the conflict has been instigated, the guilty must be punished. The central government will work closely with the state government to ensure this.”
The PM said the Centre will work closely with the state government to bring back normalcy to the lives of the people affected by “these very tragic events. This is a task which all of us in the country should unite and accomplish”.
Further he added “there were initial difficulties in controlling the violence but both the Centre and Assam government will take all measures to normalise the situation and provide a healing touch to the victims. The need of the hour is to give a healing touch to those who have suffered a lot”.
While taking a query about the reason which evoked the riots, he said, “the issue is very complex and when peace returns we will analyse it.”
He said this was not the time to point fingers at each other. Speaking to reporters at the relief camp at the Kokrajhar Commerce College after meeting refugees, Singh said “I share your grief and all of us are with you in this hour of your suffering. We are all Indians and we must remain united”.
“We have also directed the state government to provide security to the affected people so that the people can go back home,” he said.
Singh also held talks with Bodoland Territorial Council administration, student, social and literary organisations.
Prime Minister’s visit to Kokrajhar was delayed for more than two hours after his helicopter had to return to Guwahati. He subsequently left in an IAF one for Kokrajhar.
When a reporter asked PM about Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi’s reportedly pointing finger that the Centre was also responsible for delay in sending Army troops, Gogoi intervened to shot back “I did not say this. I did not say this”.