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CM ‘restores’ BTC leaders’ guards

Guwahati, Nov. 20: The extra guards withdrawn from the houses of executive members of the Bodoland Territorial Council are likely to be re-deployed, after chief minister Tarun Gogoi today apparently assured a delegation of MLAs of Bodoland People’s Front, which rules the council.

Transport minister Chandan Brahma, who was also part of the delegation, said they had a meeting with the chief minister this afternoon. “He has assured us that the guards would be redeployed at the earliest,” he said. “And we need them too.”

The guards were withdrawn on November 17, after police arrested an executive member, Mono Kumar Brahma, for possession of arms, an allegation later challenged in court by his family. The seized weapons have been sent for examination to the forensic laboratory to ascertain whether they were used in the incident, in which three persons were killed.

Brahma felt the guards were withdrawn because of some wrong briefing given by officials at the ground level. He also said the MLAs had discussed the law and order situation in BTAD with Gogoi and on measures required to restore peace.

The move to withdraw the guards was described as a “conspiracy” by the BPF leadership. However, till late this evening, no directions had been issued by the government to the Kokrajhar district administration for redeployment of the guards.

“There are some procedures which have to be followed when someone seeks security,” said a police official posted in the district.

“The person has to first apply to the district superintendent of police who then assesses the requirement and then accordingly moves the application to the state government through the zonal inspector-general of police for concurrence,” the official said.

Other sources, however, said the government might just prevail over the police to disregard normal procedure and return the guards. “But that should not happen,” the official said.

On the other hand, parliamentary secretary (home), Bhupen Bora, told The Telegraph that operations to mop up illegal weapons in the Bodo belt would continue. “The process will not stop under any sort of pressure,” he said.

The BPF leadership had targeted Bora following the arrest of Mono Kumar. “I never said anything against the BPF, I had only responded to the propaganda they were spreading against me,” he said, adding that relations were still cordial. “Only yesterday, Chandan Brahma had invited me to tea.”

Sources said Bora had informed the chief minister about the invitation to tea and Gogoi had approved.

“In fact, Bora had even informed certain senior officials in Kokrajhar to avoid any misunderstanding that could crop up later,” a source said. “Nothing happens without the knowledge of the chief minister, not even tea invites,” he said in jest.

The finger pointing on the Kokrajhar violence continued, with the All Assam Tribal Sangha and All Assam Tribal Youth League today holding the state government responsible for the turmoil in the Bodo belt.

The two groups said the government had scripted the “drama” to put pressure on the BTC administration to rehabilitate all the riot-displaced people. “The fresh violence in Kokrajhar, the subsequent arrest of Mono Kumar Brahma and the police claim of recovery of weapons from his house and the withdrawal of guards are all part of the government’s strategy to put pressure on the BTC administration, as it has remained rigid in its stand of rehabilitating only genuine Indian citizens,” Sangha general secretary Aditya Khaklary said to reporters here.

Khaklary stated that many people of doubtful citizenship had returned to the villages at the behest of the administration. “Altogether 87 families have moved back to Dangaimari village under Bauraguri police outpost in Gossaigaon sub-division, though only 29 have land pattas. The situation is the same in adjacent villages like Mushalmanpara, Baigunbari, Charagaon, Onthaibari,” he said.

The groups also accused the government of being prejudiced towards indigenous people, including the Bodos. “Illegal arms are also in the hands of others which was evident in the killing of Nirishan Basumatary, a vegetable vendor of Sahajuri village who was shot dead in Tilipara under Gossaigaon sub-division on November 15. The operation against illegal arms should not be directed only at the Bodos,” president of the youth league, Rimal Amsih, said.


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