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Thousands march over ‘secret killings’

- Amid widespread protests, army denies picking up youths or operation in area

Kokrajhar, Dec. 24: Thousands of people in Baksa today took to the streets to protest the “secret killings” by security forces in the district.

The protest comes in the wake of the recovery of the body of Rajib Basumatary, who was allegedly picked up along with two others and killed by the security forces yesterday.

While Rajib’s body was recovered, Kundan Basumatary is missing and Rajkumar Rabha returned yesterday with multiple injuries on his body. Rajkumar has alleged that army personnel have killed Rajib and Kundan, a Bodoland Peoples Front (BPF) youth wing member.

Organised by Mushalpur district BPF, over 10,000 people with banners and festoons marched through Mushalpur town shouting slogans against the army, accusing it of carrying out secret killings, demanding justice and stop killing of innocent people.

The protesters demanded the removal of the army from the area.

A memorandum was later submitted to the Baksa deputy commissioner, demanding high-level inquiry into the incident, exemplary punishment to the army personnel involved, recovery of the body of the missing youth, justice to the family members of the slain youths, Rs 50 lakh compensation each to the family members of the two youths and so on.

The “secret killing” slur on the 12 Kumoun regiment of the army stationed at Mushalpur gained momentum after the recovery Rajib’s body yesterday.

Parliamentary secretary Maneswar Brahma, MLA Emanual Mushahary, BTC executive member Banamali Boro, BTC members Moon Singh Basumatary, Ansumwi Kunggur Boro and Bijit Gwra Narzary also participated in the protest rally, from the BPF office to the deputy commissioner’s office. The Bodo National Conference, a conglomeration of various Bodo organisations, also participated in the rally.

Deputy commissioner Babul Chandra Borbora said additional superintendent of police Hirayna Barman would lead the investigation into the incident.

The people alleged that it was a part of “secret killings” carried out in the name of operations against militant organisations.

The army today, however, denied the report about picking up the three youths secretly and killing two of them in Baksa district yesterday.

Defence public relations officer Lt Col S.S. Phogat in a statement denied the involvement of the army in the incident and said it was conducting any operation in Narayanpur at that time.

The Paresh Barua faction of Ulfa today condemned the incident and urged all to protest the “killing of innocents” by the “colonial forces”.