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Protests continue over killing

- Cop team formed to nab girl’s killers, govt to recommend Priya’s name for award

Kokrajhar, Aug. 24: Protests against the execution of a schoolgirl by NDFB (Songbijit) in Chirang district on Wednesday continued to spread with two marches held here today, as Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi asked police to intensify operations to arrest the killers of Priya Basumatary.

The chief minister today said they would recommend her name to the Centre for a national bravery award. Gogoi had yesterday said Dispur would institute a bravery award in her name.

Sources said Priya was dragged out from her house at Dwimuguri village under Runikhata police station in Chirang district and shot dead from close range by NDFB (S) militants, just a few hours after five cadres of the outfit were killed in an encounter.

Assam police in a statement today said a case has been registered at Runikhata police station in Chirang district in connection with the killing.

Chirang SP Ranjan Bhuyan has been asked to form a special team to arrest those behind the crime.

In Kokrajhar, the All Bodo Women’s Welfare Federation (ABWWF) and the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) carried out two separate protest programmes today, condemning the incident.

Hundreds of women carrying placards, banners and shouting slogans marched through the thoroughfares of Kokrajhar to the deputy commissioner’s office demanding a high-level inquiry into the incident, exemplary punishment to criminals, compensation of Rs 10 lakh to the family members of the victim. The rally was organised by the All Bodo Women’s Welfare Federation and the women’s wing of the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF).

The women’s organisations slammed the state government and the police for neglecting the family’s plight as the administration did not recover the victim’s body even 40 hours after the incident.

“The police took her body for post-mortem only after her relatives from Bengtol brought the body from the incident site,” ABWWF president Mithinga Basumatary said.

Kokrajhar East MLA Pramila Rani Brahma, who was participating in the rally, questioned the chief minister’s announcement of the bravery award in Priya’s honour. “What is the motive behind the chief minister announcing a bravery award in her honour?”

The outfit’s “deputy army chief”, B. Bidai, had alleged that Priya had passed information to security forces about the presence of five cadres at Dwimuguri. He also alleged that she was in a relationship with a cadre of the Ranjan Daimary faction of the NDFB. Priya was the second daughter of Niren Basumatary, a farmer.

“She had passed on information through the boy she loved, who is a member of the Ranjan Daimary group and they killed five of our members. So, we killed her. If the government keeps on killing us like this, we will have to do the same,” Bidai had said. The Ranjan Daimary group, however, denied the charge.

The protesters also condemned the alleged atrocities by SSB jawans on villagers at Ultapani on Friday. They demanded an end to the atrocities on the public in the name of arresting militants and asked the government to take up the issues of the rebel groups on a political level and bring about a permanent solution through negotiation.

The Kokrajhar district unit of the AASU took out a candle-lit rally here this evening from the union’s office to the Kokrajhar over bridge. Hundreds of students participated in the rally. The AASU demanded action against the culprits and safety and security to people in the region.

Various organizations like the United Democratic People’s Front (UDPF), Bodoland People’s Progressive Front (BPPF), Bodo National Council (BNC), Absu and Bodo Sahitya Sabha also condemned the killing.

The AGP today filed a petition before the Assam Human Rights Commission (AHRC) seeking adequate compensation and protection for the family of the victim.

AGP general secretary Kamala Kalita filed the petition on the party’s behalf. A party delegation led by Rekha Rani Das Boro met Priya’s family members today.

Absu call: Absu president Pramod Boro today appealed to all groups to shun violence saying no one could achieve anything by killing their own people. He was addressing a peace rally at Mainawsree village, near the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border, about 50km from Tezpur.

Boro also urged government to adopt a positive attitude to solve the problems of different communities. The villages in the area under Rangapara police where Boro addressed the rally have witnessed frequent extortion and kidnappings by NDFB (S) militants.


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