|Shelter camps set up at Bhangarpar in Baksa.
Guwahati, May 19: The All Assam Minority Students’ Union (AAMSU) today announced a series of protests from May 24, demanding review of the Bodo Accord, seizure of illegal weapons from Bodoland Territorial Areas District and strong action against the culprits of 2008, 2012 and 2014 violence.
The students’ union alleged that the state government’s failure to take strong action had encouraged frequent killings, abductions and extortion in the BTAD, resulting in fear and uncertainty among all communities.
“The state government has failed to take strong steps against those involved in the frequent killings. Survivors of the May 2 attacks at Narayanguri and Khagrabari in Baksa district say former Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT) cadres and young members of the Bodoland People’s Front (the party that rules the BTAD) were involved in the killings. But the state police have been claiming the involvement of the NDFB (Songbijit) militants. We condemn this irresponsible statement and demand arrest of the BPF members and forest ranger Amiyo Kumar Brahma, who were involved in the attacks,” AAMSU general secretary Azizur Rahman said here today.
At least 46 people, including 22 children, belonging to a minority community were killed by militants at Balapara village in Kokrajhar district and Narayanguri and Khagrabari villages in Baksa district on May 1 and May 2 respectively. Many in the BTAD said the villagers were targeted as they had voted against BPF candidate Chandan Brahma, a former militant. Former Ulfa “commander” Hira Sarania, who was supported by non-Bodo groups, won the Kokrajhar Lok Sabha seat with a margin of over three lakh votes. BPPF candidate U.G. Brahma came second while Chandan Braham stood third, changing the political equation in the Bodo heartland.
“Sarania’s victory and U.G. Brahma getting more votes than Chandan Brahma signifies that both Bodos and non-Bodos in the BTAD are angry and unhappy with the BPF and the Hagrama Mohilary-led BTC. We demand that the Bodo Accord of 2003 should be reviewed and the government issue a white paper on the findings of the investigations into the violence incidents, including the 2012 riots in which over 100 people were killed,” Rahman said.
Many in Kokrajhar, the BTC headquarters, however, said instead of reviewing the BTC Accord, both the Centre and the state should take measures to address the issues arising out of land rights and take strong steps against those involved in the violence.
“The Bodos are worried about growing encroachment by migrants while others are under constant fear of violence arising out of conflicts. There is a need for serious intervention into the issues leading to conflicts instead of blaming each other,” a Bodo leader in Kokrajhar said.
The AAMSU will stage a two-hour demonstration in front of the Barpeta deputy commissioner’s office on May 24, followed by a citizens’ convention in Guwahati on May 26. Similar protests will be held in Sivasagar, Darrang, Dhubri, Morigaon and Silchar till June 8. A delegation of the union will visit New Delhi on June 15 and submit memoranda to the President, Prime Minister, home minister and others, seeking the Centre’s intervention.
The Assam State Commission for Minorities had yesterday proposed a stakeholders’ meet to discuss the issues causing conflicts and suggest a roadmap to the government for lasting peace in the BTAD.