Veer Lachit Sena vows to uproot BJP
The Veer Lachit Sena (VLS), a socio-political organisation of Assam, on Thursday vowed to uproot the ruling BJP from power in the state in the 2021 Assembly polls and asserted it would not bow down before “oppression” by the authorities against its leaders.
The announcement came in the wake of a raid carried out by the army looking for suspected Ulfa (I) cadres at the residence of Debojit Duarah, the VLS’s Sasoni regional president. Subsequently, the army filed an FIR with the police, claiming it had found a pistol and ammunition from his place. The charge has been denied by Duarah. Before Duarah, they had arrested its organising secretary Srikhal Chaliha for his alleged role in the disturbance during the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests in December.
Addressing the media, VLS’s chief adviser Rantu Paniphukan said the organisation would launch a massive awareness programme across the rural areas of the state to build a mass opinion against the government’s imposition of the CAA on the people.
Referring to the recent incident in which the security forces had allegedly planted a gun in the house of Duarah’s residence, he said: “Once hailed as the ‘hero’ of the Assamese community, our chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal has now become a ‘blot’ on the community. And that is why fearing losing his grip, the government is using all its machineries to corner those who opposed it. The people of Assam need to reject the BJP now and the VLS will mobilise the people of the state for it.”
Paniphukan said the VLS’s leaders such as Shrinkhal Chaliha were also targeted by the authorities for being vocal against the CAA and slapped with “false” charges. Chaliha was arrested on December 23 by the CID for allegedly making provocative statements while protesting against the CAA. Later, he was released on bail.
Asking all the anti-CAA factions to join hands to make the maximum use of the ongoing movement, VLS spokesperson Gauri Shankar Goswami said: “The anti-CAA movement needs to go global. The movement should be intensified in such a way that even the United Nations should discuss it.”
Duarah, who was also present at the conference, claimed that he was being threatened by several other pro-CAA factions ever since he had joined the movement and took an active role in raising funds for anti-CAA movements in his area.
“I am sure they (security forces) came to my residence to kill me. When they did not find me during the raid, they planted a weapon at my home and complained against me. The government seems to be replicating the ‘secret killing’ method to suppress the anti-CAA movement,” Duarah claimed.
A series of extra-judicial killings of several sympathisers and relatives of Ulfa rocked the state during 1998-2001 and these are infamous as “secret killings”.
On Saturday night, the army conducted a search operation in Kukurapuhia village in Upper Assam for suspected Ulfa (I) cadres. Later, Dibrugarh police registered a case alleging that a .22mm pistol and six bullets were found at Duarah’s residence.
A video clip, which went viral, showed that two SUVs without number plates and a few uniformed personnel, wearing masks, entered Duarah’s house at night. As soon locals started filming the incident and Duarah’s wife raised the alarm, the security personnel left in a hurry. However, army sources have already denied its role in the incident. “Such kind of atrocities will continue and that is why this government needs to go,” Duarah said. He added that he would move the Assam Human Rights Commission shortly.