Kokrajhar, Nov. 30: Thousands of students, teachers and guardians from various parts of Kokrajhar district today assembled together and voiced their protest against the killing of a school student, apart from fratricidal violence and frequent bandhs in the Bodo belt.
Unidentified gunmen had shot dead Nirmal Basumatary, a Class IX student of Kachugaon Public High Sch-ool at Lotamari in the district on November 25. Nirmal was studying at his friend’s house when three armed youths shot him from point blank range, killing him on the spot.
Fratricidal violence in the Bodo heartland (Kokrajhar) had claimed 11 lives and injured over 12 since November 8 last. Over 50 lives have been lost in the district this year.
The protesters with placards in their hands saying, “Ensure safety and security of students”, “We want peace”, “Stop violence”, “Stop killings”, shouted slogans, demanding adequate security, an end to all kinds of violence and creation of a peaceful environment.
Later, a memorandum was submitted to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh through the district administration. Kokrajhar additional deputy commissioner D. Devi Das accepted the memorandum.
The memorandum demanded safety and security to all, institution of a high-level inquiry into the killings, deployment of more forces in the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), arrest of the perpetrators and a ban on all bandhs in the state.
The memorandum also demanded an ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh from the state government and Rs 2 lakh from the BTC, for the next of kin of those killed in the fratricidal violence.
“The frequent incidents of violence and killings has affected us all. We are living in terror. We no longer feel safe even at home as there is constant fear,” said a student at Kachugaon.
“Such incidents should not happen again. These kinds of activities (killings) should be stopped,” said H. Narzary, the head teacher of the Kachugaon High School where Nirmal studied.
“Leaders should stop targeting each other and instead focus on their tasks. The leaders and parties should play politics but not with arms and at the cost of people’s lives. Arms only lead to violence and destruction,” said a student of Gauhati University, Kokrajhar campus.
In the same vein, another student said, “Please don’t involve us in politics. Make us free from politics. Let the students do their duties to make their careers bright.”
“Stop the bandh culture as it is not only affecting the educational environment but also economic development of the BTC region. The administration should also ensure that security is provided to all, said another student.
The district has seen as many as seven bandhs since November 10.
Though various Bodo organisations have been voicing their concerns over the fratricidal killings, it has done precious little to stop them.
A top police official in the district said Dispur was yet to deploy additional security forces as sought by the administration here.