| The CBI team on its way to visit Assam’s riot-hit Kokrajhar district on Friday. Picture by UB Photos |
Kokrajhar/Dhubri, Aug. 10: A two-member CBI team today reached Kokrajhar and started preliminary inquiries into the Bodo belt riots while different minority political parties vented ire over the “Bangladeshi” twist to the story.
The CBI team, comprising special director (Guwahati zone) K. Salim Ali and deputy inspector-general Satish Golcha, accompanied by ministry of home affairs joint secretary Sambhu Singh and head of the CBI anti-corruption branch, Guwahati, Hiren Chandra Nath, today toured areas which faced the brunt of the violence.
They visited Magurmari, the spot where two persons — suspended police constable Mohibur Islam alias Ratul and All Assam Minority Students Union leader Siddique Ali — were shot at on July 19 and Joypur Namapara, where four Bodo youths were killed on July 20, sparking off the riots.
The team also visited Karigaon, where two bodies were recovered from Champamati river, and Raniguli, where three persons were killed and two injured in the aftermath of the violence.
Singh said it was just a preliminary visit. “We are looking at the pattern and trying to see if there was any conspiracy. Investigation will reveal further. This is a preliminary visit,” he said, adding that the actual probe team would be visiting more places.
A CBI official said they had received a notification from the Assam government to take over the inquiry and would shortly register cases in this connection.
CBI sources said the bureau would initially investigate seven cases, adding that the two sides had registered 309 cases, including 225 in Kokrajhar district alone, with the police.
The team had yesterday collected details about the riots from the police top brass in Guwahati.
In Dhubri district, political leaders have reacted strongly to the attacks on Muslims during the riots.
AGP leader Tazmul Haque said there was no reason to continue curfew in Dhubri district as the situation had improved in lower Assam. “The holy month of Ramazan started last month, with 20 days passing amid tension. Curfew should be lifted immediately and the people allowed to mingle and defuse tension.”
Leaders from other parties echoed Haque and demanded lifting of curfew.
Dhubri Bar Association president Fazlul Haque Sarkar, while terming the recent violence as ethnic cleansing of Muslims, said it had its roots to a similar drive in 1993 by the Bodos that displaced lakhs of Muslims from various districts of lower Assam followed by the attacks on Adivasis and non-Bodos.
“This is an agenda of the Bodos to drive Muslims out of BTAD and this was the ugliest-ever riots. The Centre and the state government failed miserably to control the situation for days,” he said.
He said the Congress should review its alliance with the BPF, seize all illegal arms from Bodo rebels and amend the Bodo treaties to incorporate clauses about protection of lives and property and all-round development of non-Bodos, including Muslims. Dhubri district AIUDF president Aminur Rahman Ahmed said imposition of curfew could not help prevent Bangladeshi infiltration into the district.
Resenting the branding of displaced Muslims as Bangladeshis and blaming them for the violence, Ahmed said if that was true, how could so many Bangladeshis cross the fenced border manned by BSF.
Ahmed and many other political and apolitical leaders and citizens also voiced similar resentment in the all-party and citizens’ meet addressed by AICC general secretary and in-charge of Assam Digvijaya Singh yesterday.