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BAKSA,Assam, May 3: The Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD) in lower Assam which had witnessed carnage over the years ,the memories of which are still afresh and vivid in the minds of the people and not to say of those who lost their kins for whom justice still remains to be delivered.The 2008 ethnic and communal clashes in Darrang-Udalguri districts and the gruesome incidents of the 2012 July-August riots in Kokrajhar-Chirang-Baksa districts left over 100 dead and 4.85 lakh displaced. The 2014 mayhem and violence on May 1-2 was not a communal riot or ethnic clash between warring groups or communities – not between Bodos and non-Bodos.

It was one sided gruesome killings perpetrated by armed anti-socials and terror elements against a particular community. People belonging to Muslim communities of erstwhile East Bengal origin, and settled in Assam for several decades, have been targeted and subjected to savagery and cruelty. The barbarity of it all defies imagination children, women, men were brutually massacred in what can be described as mindless carnage .

The outrageous acts of violence first started on the night of May 1 when unidentified gunmen killed three innocent and poor persons at Narsingbari village under Baksa district in Assam. The killing spree then swiftly spread to Balapara village under Gossaigaon Sub-Division in Kokrajhar district where seven persons were gunned down. The gruesome mayhem in broad daylight at Nonke-Khagrabari and Narayanguri villages under Gobardhana police Station in Baksa on May 2,2014 has completed five years but the sounds of bullets,visuals of dead-bodies and the grief of losing their kins in the mass-kiling of nearly 38 people are still afresh in the minds of villagers as whether they will get justice is a matter to ponder over.

The large majority of the victims of the carnage were children and women belonging to poor families – mostly daily wage earners. Most of the bodies were found in the bank of the Beki river in Baksa district. Many people were injured of bullet injuries and houses were also set ablaze in Nonke-Khagrabari and Narayanguri villages. A relief camp was also set up then at Gobardhana where around 500 people took shelter.

The Assam government had entrusted the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to probe the incidents, besides taking the decision to institute a judicial inquiry by a retired judge.Amnesty International had also condemned the deadly attacks, terming the act as shameful and displaying contempt for human lives. “The perpetrators of the terror-killings are yet to be identified. The Assam government is largely responsible for its failure to protect the lives and properties of the innocent people belonging to the religious minority communities who are subjected to such brutality from time to time but the perperators of such crime evades ” says All BTC Minority Students Union leader,Ibrahim Ali Ahmed. He further lamented that both the Bodoland Territorial Council(BTC) and Assam state government has done precious little to fulfill its constitutional obligation to protect the lives of minority community people.

The leaders of All Assam Muslim Students Union another front runner students organization fighting for the cause of minorities have also raised certain genuine grievances against the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) administration led by the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), a coalition partner of the Bharatiya Janata Party led dispensation in Assam.

As many as 26 persons were arrested for their alleged involvement in the carnage and Assam police also arrested six forest volunteers, including a forest ranger of the Manas National Park, following complaints from the survivors that instead of protecting them, the forest volunteers fired and set their houses on fire the police also recovered shells of rifles which were similar to firearms uaed by the forest personal.The survivors had made specific complaints that when villagers rushed to the forest beat office at Khagrabari in Baksa district for safety on May 2, the forest personnel fired at them and set some of their houses afire. The Assam Human Rights Commission had also registered a suo-moto case in regard of the allegations against the forest personnel. “The accused personals of forest department under BTC administration have rather got promotions during the trial stage of the case. which is quite unfortunate” lamented ABMSU leader, Ibrahim Ali Ahmed. “Though the next kins of victims of the carnage were promised of ex-gratia compensation by BTC and state government they have received a meagre amount in the name of compensation ” rued Ali. He further lamented that the BTC authorities and State Government might take this incident for granted deeming that the minority conmunity have overlooked the incident but we will never rest untill the victim families are rehabilated with due compensation,government jobs to next kins of victim and perperators of the crime are brought to book.The CPI(M) had then also demanded that a high level investigation under the supervision of the Gauhati High Court should be instituted simultaneously with the NIA probe. It was of the demand that all investigation should be conducted within a fixed time frame to prevent protracted delays.

Shajid Khan is an Independent journalist,human right activist and a law student of Gauhati University based in Assam and can be reached at itsshajidkhan@gmail.com


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