NEW DELHI — Authorities in India’s restive northeastern state of Assam ordered an investigation Thursday into violent demonstrations over a government eviction drive, which saw three people shot dead by police.
“We have ordered an inquiry into the mob violence and will take necessary action against those guilty or those involved in vandalism,” Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi said.
Riot police opened fire after angry demonstrators protesting against the eviction of squatters turned violent and set fire to at least 20 vehicles in Assam’s main city of Guwahati on Wednesday.
About 20 policemen, including the city police chief Deepak Choudhury, were injured in the clash involving at least 5,000 protesters.
A nine-year-old boy was shot dead, while two more protesters succumbed to their injuries late Wednesday at a city hospital.
Violence flared after people took to the streets to demand land rights and an end to the eviction of squatters from bamboo huts built on hills around the city.
Officials carrying out the evictions over the past 10 days have said the illegal homes are degrading the environment and contributing to flash floods and mudslides, which in recent years have killed dozens of illegal settlers.