Curfew relaxed in Assam’s silk town, probe to be ordered

Guwahati, April 1 (IANS) Life is limping back to normal in Sualkuchi – the silk town of Assam, where seven people including two policemen were injured in a clash between weavers and security forces, the government said Monday, adding it will order a judicial probe into the incident.

The indefinite curfew, which had been on in Sualkuchi since the violence Saturday, was relaxed Monday for 10 hours – from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and there is no reports of any untoward incident reported.

“A magisterial inquiry has already been ordered into the incident. But the government is also planning to order a judicial probe into the incident soon,” said Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain in reply to questions by the opposition members in the assembly.

State Handloom and Textile Minister Pranati Phookan also told the house that steps are being taken to protect the interest of the local weavers.

“We are going to have a separate trade mark for the valuable pat silk (Assam silk) produced in Sualkuchi so that the interests of the weavers of the area are protected,” Phookan said while adding that the sale of Banarasi silk has also been restricted in Kamrup district of Assam.

The small township, located about 30 kms away from Assam’s main city Guwahati, witnessed violent clashes between a group of local weavers and the security forces after the former tried to set ablaze cloth made out of Banarasi silk, which was imported to the area from Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi by some traders and wholesalers and sold in the name of Assam silk.

Police had to resort to firing after the mob went out of control and five people were injured during the incident.Two policemen were also injured during the mob attack.

More than 25,000 people of Sualkuchi are engaged in weaving industry which has an annual turnover of Rs.150 crore

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