In Photo: An auto-rickshaw that was set on fire by a mob at Bhowal Point, Central Road, in Silchar on Saturday noon.
By A Newsman
Silchar, 26 September: SIMMERING tension is prevailing in Silchar, the headquarters of the Bengali dominated south Assam, after overnight stray clashes between two small Hindu and Muslim groups in downtown Meherpur over a buffalo horn being found in the yards of a Kali temple.
A large posse of police and security forces had to be pressed in at Meherpur to disperse an agitated mob that was protesting against alleged police inaction.
The administration has imposed Section 144 of the CrPC in and around Silchar town and thus, barring the assembly of more than four persons at a place.
Local residents at Meherpur were angry with the Cachar district police for letting off the culprit who, they claim, was caught red handed while planting the animal horn in the precincts of the temple on Friday night.
In the clashes that ensued, three persons including the BJP Ghongoor gram panchayat president Bidyut Dey was injured.
Some residential buildings adjacent to the temple were vandalised as the violent mob pelted stones at the houses before a huge contingent of police and paramilitary forces led by the Cachar superintendent of police Rajveer Singh arrived at the scene and took control of the situation.
The tension spread to Silchar town on Saturday morning as the police arrested BJP Silchar MLA Dilip Paul and the party’s Cachar district president Kaushik Rai after they went to the disturbed Meherpur area flouting Section 144 of the CrPc that was promulgated there since Friday night.
Probably to avoid trouble, the two were brought to the Tarapur police station, instead of Rangirkhari, which is the nearest police station to Meherpur.
Following this, BJP workers, along with members of some Hindu organisations, put up a road blockade at Tarapur area, close to Silchar railway station. Police had to resort to lathicharge to lift the blockade and disperse the agitated crowd.
Soon tension spread to other parts of Silchar. Around noon, an auto rickshaw was set on fire by a mob near Bhowal Point at Central Road in the heart of Silchar town.
Several sporadic incidents of street violence also took place in other parts of Silchar, sending the town into the grip of panic and rumour. Shops downed their shutters, while teachers and students of several educational institutes in the town had a trying time to reach to the safety of their home.
The BJP MLA and its district president were released on bail towards Saturday evening.
The acting deputy commissioner of Cachar, M K Das, convened an all-party meeting to maintain peace in the town but the BJP boycotted the parley. Instead, the saffron party has called for a 12 hour Silchar bandh on Monday, 28 September, in protest against the alleged partial role of the police.
Security has been beefed up in Silchar, with reinforcement being called in from the nearby districts.