| AASU activists at the rally in Kokrajhar and (below) bike-borne NDFB-P members hold a rally that started from Habrubari in Kokrajhar town. Telegraph pictures |
Kokrajhar, Oct. 11: Thousands of students and local residents here matched steps with All Assam Students’ Union and National Democratic Front of Bodoland-Progressive leaders in two separate protest rallies today and raised their voices against illegal migration and related issues.
While the AASU rally was held in this town, the NDFB-P bike rally covered the entire district, starting from Kokrajhar to Gossaigaon via Dotma-Bauraguri road.
Over a thousand youths participated in the NDFB-P bike rally. It started from Habrubari in Kokrajhar town with placards and festoons and shouted slogans demanding an early update of the NRC, detection and deportation of illegal migrants, protection of tribal belts and blocks and restoration of peace and harmony in the state.
The rally was supported by various organisations including Ex-BLT Welfare Society, surrendered NDFB cadres, Adivasi Cobra Military of Assam (ACMA), Peoples Joint Action Committee for Boroland Movement (PJACBM) and United Democratic Peoples Front (UDPF).
PJACBM chief convener Jebraram Mushahary flagged off the rally during which a memorandum was submitted to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Union home minister P. Chidambaram and BTC chief Hagrama Mohilary through Gossaigaon sub-divisional officer (civil). A public meeting was also held at Habrubil in Gossaigaon.
The rally demanded implementation of the provision of Chapter X of Assam Land and Revenue Regulation Act, 1886 (amendment 1947), clearing up of 47 tribal belts and blocks from encroachment and justice to the tribal people of Assam and people of other notified weaker sections who have rights over the land within the tribal belt and blocks.
It sought taking of pragmatic and effective steps for protection, promotion and development of the languages, cultures and traditional customs of the indigenous people and rehabilitation of bonafide Indians displaced in the recent violence in Kokrajhar, Chirang and Dhubri, update of NRC for identifying illegal migrants and their deportation.
The AASU rally, which was supported by various organisations like Absu, Tribal Youth League, Tribal Sangha, All Assam Gorkha Students Union, Garo Students Union and Nath Jogi Students Union, among others, also saw participation by thousands of people, including students from various educational institutions.
Holding banners, placards and festoons, the protesters marched from Rajmela field through RNB Road, JD Road, Civil Line, Santinagar Road, Vivekananda path, shouting slogans demanding detection and deportation of illegal migrants, sealing of the Indo-Bangla border, NRC update, constitutional safeguards for the indigenous people and protection of tribal belts and blocks, among others.
AASU vice-president Pradip Das, while addressing the gathering, said Bangladeshis must be deported in accordance with clauses of the Assam Accord for permanent peace in the region. “The foreigners issue has increased the problems in the state manifold than what it used to be during the AASU movement.”
“AASU had led the agitation and subsequently an accord was signed in 1985. But for the last 27 years, nothing has been done to implement the accord,” he said, slamming the government for not being sincere while solving the illegal migrants problem in the state.
He said though the pilot project for the NRC update was started in Barpeta, the government stopped the process following protests by All Assam Minority Students Union. “Our movement will remain as strong till the government implements our demands.”
All Assam Tribal Youth League adviser Berlao Karjee termed the recent BTAD riots as nothing but a clash between the illegal migrants and the indigenous people and demanded that the 47 tribal belts and blocks be cleared of illegal settlers.
“People from Bangladesh have snatched our land and jobs and now they are entering politics, posing a great threat to the people of BTAD and Assam. This land is ours and we have inherited it from our forefathers,” he said, urging the government to deport all illegal migrants from the soil of Bodoland and Assam.
“We will continue our struggle till the last illegal migrant is deported,” he said.
In another incident, 418 people, who had been staying in different relief camps of lower Assam, were detained by policemen of Tufanganj police station of Cooch Behar district today. A police source in Tufanganj said that most them did not have any documents to prove citizenship.