| Oboro Suraksha Samiti members stage a demonstration in Guwahati. File picture |
Dhubri, July 21: The Oboro Suraksha Samiti has called a 12-hour strike in Assam from 6am tomorrow in support of its demand for exclusion of non-Bodo villages from the BTAD to ensure security of lives and properties of non-Bodos living in the area.
Alleging inaction and failure of police to arrest the perpetrators of violence in the Bodoland Territorial Areas District (BTAD), the Samiti, an umbrella organisation of non-Bodo groups, has demanded that the government stop extortion, abduction and killing of non-Bodos by militants. The Samiti alleged that Bodo militants were targeting non-Bodos of the BTAD in a bid to drive them out and prove the majority of Bodos in the area. He said no one belonging to the non-Bodo communities was spared — minors, daily wage earners or the poor.
The Samiti’s secretary, Jogeswar Kalita, alleged, “The presence of a huge quantity of arms in the BTAD can never bring lasting peace in the area. But the government seems not to be serious about seizure of illegal arms which has resulted in frequent violence.”
Kalita alleged that the promised National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe into the killings in the BTAD in May this year, had remained only on paper.
Samiti sources said they wanted a solution to the killings and violence targeting non-Bodo people in the BTAD. They said non-Bodos have been opposed to further division of Assam by creating “Bodoland” as demanded by Bodo groups and instead want a review of the BTC Accord.
A member of the Samiti’s Baksa district unit alleged that since the creation of BTAD, non-Bodos living in the area have not been able to enjoy political or socio-economic rights as they have been “living at gunpoint all along”.
The sources said the strike was the Samiti’s first phase of agitation and if the government did not take notice of the non-Bodos’ plight soon, it would announce a series of agitation and the government would be responsible for any untoward situation arising out of it.
Samiti leaders alleged that since the 2012 riots, non-Bodos living in the BTAD have witnessed the wrath of militants who have let loose a reign of terror in the entire area despite the presence of security forces in huge numbers. They alleged a deep political conspiracy hatched by a section of leaders in the BTAD and outside it.