VIOLENCE INCREASES IN ASSAM, VILLAGERS LIVE UNDER THREAT AND FEAR
Victims of violence in Assam in relief camps earlier
NEW DELHI: Assam has been burning under insurgent and communal violence continuously since the Lok Sabha elections where large scale violence killed, and displaced villagers in the Bodoland Territorial Areas Districts (BTAD) of the state. Inflammatory speeches by politicians encouraged the violence at the time that has still not died down, with different communities targeting each other and being targeted in turn by the militants.
In a particularly gruesome incident a 16 year old girl was shot dead, bullet by bullet by the National Democratic Front of Bodoland declared to be a terrorist organisation by the government of India in the Chirang district. Her father was forced to watch the murder, her mother fainted, and the militants walked away alleging that the girl was a police informer of which there is still no evidence. This happened on August 21 and her body was retrieved two days later by the police who claimed that this was because the village was remote and the villagers unhelpful. The parents were terrified of being attacked by the militants again.
Road connectivity in Assam remains primitive with little development for the poorest of the poor villagers living in far flung areas without bridges, or roads. The monsoons virtually maroon large tracts of land and thousands of inhabitants with successive governments showing complete indifference to this state of affairs.
As in every incident the state government has ordered an enquiry and given ex gratia payment to the victim’s family. This time the figure was a little larger than usual, Rs 20 lakhs, with Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi instituting an award in her name. Her brutal murder followed the death of five NDFB members at the hands of the police a few days earlier. As is becoming the trend these days, the militants taped the killings and sent the video to the print and electronic media. The villagers told reporters that the police reached the village only after the video was telecast by some channels.
All political parties and organisations have condemned this incident. All Assam Students' Union Advisor Samujjal Bhattacharya described it as "a barbaric incident which does not happen in civilised society.” The All Bodo Students' Union said it demonstrates the deteriorating law and order in four districts under the Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD). Advisor of the All Bodo Women's Welfare Federation Romila Islari said the people in the four districts live in constant fear.
Meanwhile Kokrajhar, an extremely sensitive district of the BTAD area in Assam and the scene of large scale violence in the recent past as well, is burning with little check from the Congress government in the state. The situation, according to reports, is deteriorating rapidly with four persons being killed in an attack by militants in the Jiaguri village. This despite indefinite curfew in the area, that clearly has become so routine that it has failed to stem the militancy or deter the terror groups from operating with impunity.
The police keeps arresting the militants and seizing sophisticated weapons from them but clearly the action is not sufficient to allow security and peace to return to the affected villages. The Citizen had visited the Kokrajhar district to find the villagers living in complete fear of attacks by the militants, with all speaking about an environment of deep insecurity perpetuated by the absence of sufficient and efficient security. The dense jungles around the district provide easy cover for the terrorists who time their attacks to keep the tension alive and the villagers under a continuing sense of threat.
Illegal arms and ammunition have flooded the district with the Assam DGP JN Choudhury admitting during a visit to Korajhar that the easy availability of weaponry was a major source of concern for the authorities.