The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fear revisits Bodoland

Kokrajhar, March 27: Fear of the bloody fratricidal clashes of 1998-2000 revisiting Bodoland gripped people after a group of former Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT) attacked a designated camp of the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) in Assam’s Baksa district yesterday.

An NDFB member was killed and three others were seriously injured in the raid at Medhaghat under Barama police station. One of the injured is undergoing treatment at Nalbari hospital while the other two have been admitted to Gauhati Medical College and Hospital, NDFB sources said.

The NDFB called a 12-hour Baksa district bandh today in protest against the assault. The bandh was almost total in the district and passed off peacefully. But the incident appears to have stoked the embers of the past.

The All Bodo Peace Forum is organising a rally at Barama on April 2 in protest against the attack.

The police said nearly 20 former members of the now disbanded BLT, armed with sticks and sharp weapons, stormed the NDFB camp, killing Birdaola Swargiary on the spot and injuring three others seriously. The attackers also set ablaze one motorcycle and five cycles and destroyed property.

The NDFB accused Hitesh Basumatary, a former BLT leader and executive member of the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) from Baksa, of being involved in the attack. “Hitesh was personally involved in the attack. He came with his security personnel and other former members of the BLT. He has been threatening our cadre to move out of Medhaghat for the past few weeks,” an NDFB member said.

Basumatary was not available for comment.

“We are concerned about the unfortunate incident,” BTC chief Hagrama Mohilary said. Holding an emergency meeting of his faction of the Bodoland Peoples’ Progressive Front (BPPF), which dominates the BTC, Mohilary said they were monitoring the situation and had taken all steps to prevent a recurrence of the incident.

He appealed to all sections of the people to ensure peace and urged the government to take measures to maintain law and order and enforce the ground rules of the ceasefire with the NDFB.

The police have rushed in reinforcements to prevent any outbreak of violence.

Top police personnel visited the spot to take stock of the situation. Inspector-general of police of the Bodoland Territorial Area Districts R.M. Singh promised strong action against the culprits. “No one will be spared by the police,” he said.

The NDFB has submitted a memorandum to the police and district administration, demanding immediate action.

Several Bodo organisations, including the All Bodo Students’ Union, the Bodo Sahitya Sabha, the All Bodo Women’s Justice Forum and the Federation of Bodo Youth condemned the incident. They urged all sections of society to maintain peace and harmony.

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