Tension over memorial defacement, 3 held

The desecration of the martyrs’ memorial has sparked tension in the state

By Tejesh Tripathy in Bongaigaon
  • Published 15.05.19, 12:20 AM
  • Updated 15.05.19, 12:20 AM
  • 2 mins read
  •  
Local residents protest in Basugaon on Tuesday Picture by Tejesh Tripathy

The desecration of the martyrs’ memorial (swahid bedi) at All Assam Students’ Union (AASU’s) office on Sunday night has sparked tension in the state. Police arrested three men from the Basugaon area in Chirang district in this connection.

The arrested three are Bittu Sarkar, 21, Anuj Saha, 28 and Sanjiv (Babu) Saha, 35.

On the basis of an FIR lodged by AASU leaders on Monday, two separate cases (numbers 35/2019 and 36/2019) under Sections 143 (member of an unlawful assembly) 447 (criminal trespass) 448 (house trespass) 506 (criminal intimidation) 153A (promoting enmity between groups) and 120(B) (criminal conspiracy) 447/427 (mischief) 153A/504 (intentional insult) of IPC (on the charges of intimidation and office defacement) were registered at Basugaon police station.

However, traders of the town downed shutters on Tuesday demanding release of the arrested youths.

The residents gathered at Sarbojanin Durga Bari to express their grouse over alleged arbitrary action by police on the youths who they claimed were innocent.

Chirang deputy commissioner Gautam Talukdar held a meeting with the representatives of 12 different groups of the district at his office on Tuesday and appealed to them to maintain peace and harmony before clearing doubts on the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Assam tourism minister Chandan Brahma was also present at the meeting.

Leaders of various organisations condemned the police action on the three youths and threatened to launch an agitation if the police continue to harass innocent people in the name of the investigation into the incident.

Leaders of the Basugaon and Chirang district units of AASU have demanded that the administration book the culprits within 24 hours, otherwise they would launch a massive protest.

Chirang district additional superintendent of police Bedanta Prakash Barkakot, in-charge of law and order in Basugaon, while talking to reporters called upon the people of all communities for restraint and maintain “peace and tranquillity”.

Unidentified miscreants smeared black paint on an All Assam Student Union’s martyrs’ memorial (swahid bedi) at its Basugaon office in Chirang district on Sunday night.

Residents out on morning walks noticed black paint on the martyrs’ memorial and informed the union members.

The defacement is the second such incident after the first one in which Nikhil Bharat Bangali Udbastu Samannay Samiti had attacked an office of the union at Silapathar in Dhemaji district on March 7, 2017. “Since our members had filed objections to the NRC against 2,500 doubtful citizens of Basugaon locality, desecration of the martyrs’ memorial might be a backlash,” the union’s Chirang district unit general secretary, Dipak Kumar Das, said.

AASU chief adviser Samujjal Bhattacharjya on Tuesday said they are exercising restraint in the Basugaon incident.

The union’s central president, Dipanka Kumar Nath, general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi and Bhattacharjya have condemned the Basugaon incident and asked their members for restraint so that the NRC update process would proceed smoothly.

Nath also visited Basugaon with his team on Monday to take the stock of the situation.