| Displaced people at a relief camp in Gossaigaon in Assam’s Kokrajhar district on Friday. Picture by UB Photos |
Guwahati, Aug. 3: Fearing permanent displacement given the insistent verification demand by Bodo groups apprehensive of illegal minorities getting rehabilitated in riot-hit BTAD districts, affected Muslims have been advised to lodge first information reports (FIRs) with complete personal and professional details, to claim compensation and rehabilitation.
All-India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat, a body of around 15 organisations, which has been touring the affected districts since July 31, today not only demanded that the Assam government resettle the affected people from where they fled but also advised them to lodge FIRs at the nearest police stations.
The body had interacted with the BPF leadership and chief minister Tarun Gogoi yesterday. Dr. Zafarul-Islam Khan, president of All-India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat (AIMMM, led the delegation, which met the chief minister.
H.R.A. Choudhury, vice-president of the body and a senior advocate, told The Telegraph here this afternoon, that reports attributed to Bodo groups seeking a check on the nationality of the riot-hit peoplehas sparked off considerable concern and consternation among the Muslims.
“We want status quo ante (the way things were before). Those affected need to be moved back to areas they hail from. If there is any doubt about their nationality, the issue can be tackled according to set norms. The whole hue and cry over the nationality issue suggests the crisis was staged with a motive: drive non-Bodos out and then raise the issue to block their return. Will someone fleeing to save their life have time to carry records with them?” Choudhury asked.
He said they were helping set up legal cells to help the affected people lodge FIRs.
“They have been advised to give their complete details, including house number, ward number, voter list number, ration cards, address proof so they are not deprived of relief and compensation. An outsider will not be able to rattle off such details,” the former AIUDF working president said, appreciating the “consistent stand” of Tarun Gogoi about non-presence of Bangladeshis in the violence or among the affected.
Mohammad Shams Ahmed of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind and Welfare Party of India said the Delhi-based Association for Protection of Civil Rights India, with which he is associated, will also help the displaced in securing relief and rehabilitation.
Ahmed said they wanted immediate seizure of illegal arms, adequate security in affected areas and a high-level inquiry into the causes of the violence.
“Even during the 2008 serial blasts case, it was alleged that Muslim groups were involved but the subsequent CBI inquiry revealed NDFB were behind the blasts. Therefore, it is important for a CBI probe into the riots. We had yesterday articulated our concerns to the chief minister who has ruled out involvement of illegal migrants in the riots.” Ahmed said.
Senior Bodo leaders have alleged that illegal migrants were involved in the clashes and they will now try to get rehabilitated by exploiting the ongoing unrest that has left 56 dead and over four lakh displaced, most of them living in camps set up in Dhubri district.
Gogoi, who is facing one of the toughest challenges of his 11-year tenure at the helm, had not only ruled out involvement of illegal migrants but also asserted there were no migrants among the affected.
The chief minister had told The Telegraph yesterday that only the “genuinely displaced” would be rehabilitated, which is seen as a bid to allay the fears of Bodo groups.
Gogoi’s detractors have reportedly moved the Congress high command with video CDs showing his statement that he will not follow Delhi’s orders in matters of governance at a news conference on Wednesday.