Even as Assam and Nagaland said they will evolve a joint mechanism to try and resolve the border issues between them, protests in Assam against alleged police atrocities and the violence on the inter-state border are only spilling over to new areas.
The chief ministers of the two states met in Guwahati on Thursday amid a bandh in the state and an indefinite curfew in the affected Golaghat district where the Army staged a flag march. No major incident was reported on Thursday.
"Both Assam and Nagaland have agreed to resolve the long-pending border issues by working out a joint mechanism," the chief ministers said emerging from the meeting.
Union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju, who also attended the meeting, welcomed it saying "the decision to form the joint mechanism is a step in the right direction".
Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi said they had had a threadbare discussion on how they could resolve the problem early.
"We are all sad that lives have been lost and houses torched. We are working at various levels to resolve the crisis since the violence has affected people on both sides. Our priority will be to restore normalcy and instill confidence in the minds of the affected," Gogoi said.
His Nagaland counterpart TR Zeliang said his government had already constituted a probe panel to get to the bottom of the case.
Asked if the Naga militants were involved, he said the probe would reveal everything. The police in Nagaland have arrested 15 people in connection with the violence.
"We have been in constant touch with each other since the August 12 incident and talks are going on at various levels. We will continue with our dialogues to resolve the issues and contain the situation as early as possible," he said.
Both Gogoi and Zeliang emphasized that the CRPF, deployed on the inter-state border as a "neutral force", should be vested with more powers to deal with any exigency effectively.
Rijiju said he was dealing with the matter very closely. "I have special concerns for the North-East as I belong to the region. Let me assure that we won't leave anything to be desired. We will do whatever is required," he said. "My appeal to the agitators is that please don't resort to economic blockades. Let us work in harmony for we have to co-exist," he added.
Bandh paralyses normal life in Assam: Meanwhile, the 12-hour Assam bandh called by the Opposition Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the Assam Tea Tribes Students' Association, to protest against Wednesday's police firing in Golaghat in which three persons were killed, paralysed normal life across the state.
Activists of several organisations of students, tea tribes, transport and others along with the AGP came out on roads across the state to protest against the police firing on groups protesting against the recent violence along the Assam-Nagaland border in which nine persons were killed.
There was no report of any bandh-related incidents so far from any part of the state though a strict vigil was being maintained by the security forces to prevent any untoward incident, a police spokesman said here.
All shops, business houses and educational institutions remained closed and attendance in government offices was thin.
Vehicular traffic remained off the road as several bus associations also decided to keep their vehicles off the road in protest.
Assam State Transport Corporation owned buses operated a skeletal service though long distance services remained suspended during the day.
Rail and air services, however, remained unaffected.
The AGP staged demonstrations in all the district headquarters to protest against the government's alleged failure to protect the lives and property of people living along the Assam-Nagaland border.
The state unit of the BJP has extended their support to the bandh and burnt the effigy of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi here after taking out a procession.