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Assam police leadership collapsed during Oct 30 blasts
Published on 26 Oct. 2009 11:15 PM IST
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The top brass of the Assam police collapsed and failed to control the mob violence in the aftermath of the Oct 30 serial bombings last year, says the one-man inquiry committee probing incidents of rioting in the state. Eight near simultaneous explosions had rocked Assam killing about 100 people and wounding 500 more -- three blasts in the state’s main city of Guwahati, two each in Barpeta and Kokrajhar and another in Bongaigaon. Soon after the blasts in Guwahati, especially at the Ganeshguri explosion site where 31 people were killed and more than 100 injured, there was mob violence with locals furious at police and firefighters for arriving late. Police vehicles and fire tenders were set ablaze by a rampaging mob, ambulances were attacked and private property damaged as well. Under fire from the opposition and other groups, the Assam government constituted a one-man probe into the post-blast violence in Guwahati headed by D.N. Dutt, a retired Assam police chief. “There was a systematic collapse of the top police leadership in the face of the crisis (mob violence) with individual officers not adhering to well-defined areas of individual responsibility and accountability and failing to work in accordance with a well coordinated contingency plan,” the D.N. Dutt enquiry commission report available with IANS reads. According to the report, the first police team arrived a “full 20 minutes” after the blast at Ganeshguri though the police station is only about 500 metres from the blast site. “The thin police presence coupled with their late arrival allowed the now vociferous crowd to swell to unmanageable proportions and indulge in unbridled violence, throwing stones and missiles at the outnumbered police contingent,” says the scathing report. The arrival of two fire tenders after almost 40 to 45 minutes infuriated the mob even more, it adds. “The entire top police leadership having rushed to the other two blast sites (Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court and in Panbazar), the Ganeshguri blast site was inexplicably left unattended in terms of presence of senior police leadership.” “The then DGP R.N. Mathur opted to remain in his office chamber even after being informed of the serial blasts and did not visit the sites till about 2 p.m. (blasts took place at 11.30 a.m.),” it goes on to say.

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