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10-hour fast to demand rehab

Kokrajhar, Feb. 12: The All BTC Minority Students’ Union (ABMSU) today staged a 10-hour hunger strike to press for its demands, including rehabilitation of all those displaced in the July-August violence in the lower Assam districts of Kokrajhar, Chirang and Dhubri.

The hunger strike ended at 2 this afternoon.

The student union is demanding rehabilitation of the displaced within February 20, based on the 2011 voter list, immediate update of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) beginning with the riot-affected lower Assam districts, seizure of all illegal arms, government jobs for families of the deceased and adequate assistance to the injured.

It also wants the government to stop harassing the union’s members in the name of inquiry in connection with the violence and adequate security during High School Leaving Certificate and Higher Secondary exams in all the sensitive areas of the violence-affected districts.

The union submitted a memorandum to chief minister Tarun Gogoi through deputy commissioner Jayant Narlikar.

Speaking to reporters, the union’s Kokrajhar district committee president Maynuddin Ali warned of a mass protest if the displaced people were not properly rehabilitated by February 20.

Demanding immediate update of the NRC with March 25, 1971 as the cut-off date, Ali said the process should start from the violence-affected districts.

“After the NRC is updated, all bona fide Indian citizens should be issued photo-identity cards,” he added.

The main problem in the region was the presence of large number of illegal arms, “so we have demanded seizure of all illegal arms for the protection of life and property,” he added.

Last month, the CBI had arrested Moinul Haque, former president of the union, and two of his associates for their role in the killing of four Bodo youths on July 20 in Kokrajhar district.

The killing triggered violence in the district which later spread to Chirang and Dhubri, killing over 100 people and leaving over 4.5 lakh people homeless.