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Speaker directive on arms seizure

- Dispur told to submit time-bound plan on bTAD

Guwahati, Aug. 4: Speaker Pranab Gogoi today asked Dispur to table a statement before the House on its time-bound plan to seize illegal arms in the Bodoland Territorial Areas District (BTAD).

The Speaker’s instruction came following a plea made by suspended AIUDF legislator Sherman Ali Ahmed that the Assembly must be informed about the government’s plan to seize illegal arms from the BTAD, as it would help prevent riots and violence in Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri districts in lower Assam to a large extent in the future.

“In reply to my questions on ethnic violence in the BTAD, state forests and environment minister Rakibul Hussain on behalf of the chief minister told the Assembly that 289 illegal arms have been seized from different extremist organisations in the BTAD from 2012 to July 2014. During the same time 55 illegal arms were seized from miscreants. Considering the loss of hundreds of innocent lives because of ethnic riots in the BTAD since 2012, the minister’s reply and seizure of just 289 arms could not a reason for me to be happy. So, I requested the Speaker to instruct the minister to issue a statement before the House,” Sherman Ali Ahmed told this correspondent after the Assembly session this afternoon.

While Ahmed said easy availability of illegal arms is one of the prime reasons for frequent riots in the BTAD, the Opposition parties attacked the Tarun Gogoi government for the deteriorating law and order situation and fast-rising crime graph in the state on the first day of the budget session today.

AIUDF MLA Rafiqul Islam said in the Assembly nearly 50 people had lost their lives in the violence that erupted in the BTAD in May this year.

“But the government has so far arrested only 12 people on charges of involvement in the violence. No compensation has so far been given to the families of the victims. Such development is itself evident of the fact that the government is not at all sincere to improve law and order in the BTAD and punish culprits behind the riots,” Islam said.

Rakibul Hussain, however, told the Assembly that the National Investigation Agency is conducting a probe into the riots and the government is firm to punish the perpetrators of violence in the Bodo belt.

AGP legislator Keshab Mahanta, while expressing concern over alarming rise in the number of crimes across the state, sought an answer from the government about its plan to modernise Assam police.

He said at a time when a single day does not pass in the state without an incident of crime, the government has not bothered to fill up the vacant posts in the police department.

According to information provided by the state government before the Assembly, Assam police have 75,559 sanctioned posts, of which 14,356 are vacant.

The state has 346 police stations and 220 police outposts.

From January to July this year, the state has witnessed 876 cases of murder, 3,261 abductions, 1,202 rapes, 680 extortion, 7,129 thefts, 158 dacoities, 12,168 incidents of crime against women, two witch-hunting and 11 blasts.

Assam power minister Pradyut Bordoloi told the Assembly that the power crisis in the state is expected to be reduced by the end of the year with the commissioning of NTPC’s Bongaigaon thermal power project at Salakati in Kokrajhar district.

Assam health minister Nazrul Islam told the Assembly that adult vaccination drive against Japanese encephalitis would be carried out in different parts of the state from September.

Assam cabinet minister Rakibul Hussain said the government would provide a job to the wife of late Gulzar Hussain in Assam police.

Hussain, a police officer, was killed by militants in an encounter in Sonitpur district in January.