Source: Times of India
The latest killing of four Muslim traders by suspected NDFB (Songbijit) militants in Baksa district has once again put the Tarun Gogoi government in a spot. The state government is facing flak from many organizations for its failure to ensure the security of the minority community in Bodoland Territorial Area District (BTAD).
The latest killing has also prompted the dissident camp in Congress to step up its attack against the chief minister. Border development minister Siddique Ahmed categorically blamed the home department, which is under Gogoi, for the violence in BTAD.
“Had the home department been proactive and serious, such killings of minority people would not have happened in BTAD. The killers are not booked yet. This is very unfortunate that our government is unable to provide security to these people,” alleged Ahmed.
Ahmed was prevented by the Baksa district administration from visiting the affected areas on Monday.
“As a minister, it is my duty to be with the people in the affected areas. But I was not allowed by the Baksa administration because of the curfew. This is very inhuman,” said Ahmed.
Four traders from Barpeta district were kidnapped by militants of the outfit from the Lafdanguri area in BTAD’s Baksa district on Friday. While one body was recovered on Saturday, three were found on Sunday. Barpeta is outside the BTAD jurisdiction.
The latest incident has triggered fear and anger among people of the minority community who said they are leading an uncertain life following a series of attacks. Friday’s kidnapping came at a time when the community members are yet to recover from the trauma of violence in May this year in which at least 50 Muslims were killed by suspected NDFB (Songbijit) militants in Baksa district.
“Our chief minister had failed us miserably. There were repeated attacks on our people. Yet, there is nothing to ensure our security,” said All Assam Minority Students’ Union (AAMSU) Baksa unit president Shahjahan Ali Ahmed.
AAMSU and Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti members burnt the effigy of Gogoi in the Gaibandha area of Barpeta in protest against the government’s failure to stop violence in BTAD. The protesters alleged that the four bodies were buried under duress from the district administration. After the recovery of the bodies, the villagers refused to bury them till the chief minister comes to the affected area and assures security to the people.
The district administration, however, denied the allegation saying that the villagers helped in burying the bodies.
The All BTAD Minority Student’s Union (ABMSU) has also warned the state government of extreme agitation for its failure to protect the minorities in the state. ABMSU general secretary Lafiqul Islam on Monday said for the last time, the students’ body has appealed to chief minister Tarun Gogoi, who also heads the state home department, to ensure protection in violence-hit areas of BTAD.
“Enough requests have been made to the state government to provide security cover to the minorities. From now on, there will be intense protests. The government should be ready to face it,” said Islam.
On Monday, ABMSU blocked the road connecting India and Bhutan in Baksa district in protest against the recent killing of four traders. The Char-Chapori Sahitya Parishad (CCSP), a literary body of Bengali-speaking Muslims, accused the government being lackadaisical in investigating the series of violence in BTAD.
“While the killers involved in the past violence are yet to be booked, fresh killings are taking place almost with regularity. If the government is not serious about security, the minority will lose faith in this government. The police force should be sensitive to the plight of people from the community,” said CCSP president Hafiz Ahmed.
Later in the evening ABMSU leaders met the CM. Gogoi assured them that the state government will raise a a police battalion only to prevent violence in BTAD.
The CM assured Rs 8 lakh each to the families of the four victims and a job to one of the family members of each victim. “We demand the government to act on its promises within a week,” said Islam.