Posted By Kame Daima, Admin BODOLAND
Jwi Boro Harini
Viv La Bodoland
ROOT CAUSE OF BODO-MUSLIM VIOLENCE AND ITS RAMIFICATION
-Hira Charan Narzinary
The July-August 2012 violence between the Bodos and Muslims had its origin in the removal of a Signboard planted on a plot of land. This land is situated at Bedlangmari under Nayekgaon-Balaghat Tribal Block which is protected under ALRR Act 1886 as amended in 1947. The immigrant Muslims encroached upon this plot of land and put up a Signboard with a view to building an Idgah.
Paragraph 3B, sub-paragraph (1) of the Sixth Schedule empowers the Bodoland Territorial Council within its areas without prejudice to the provisions of paragraph 3 to make laws among others with respect to Forest (other than reserved forests) and land and revenue.
The Government of Assam in exercise of Section 160, sub-section (2) specified Plains Tribes, Hills Tribes, Tea Garden Tribals, Santhals, Nepalis(later excluded in 1969) Scheduled Castes and Koch-Rajbansis (included in 1985 and 1990) as classes of people entitled to protection. Section 164 sub-section (2) clearly states that no landholder shall transfer his land in a belt or block to (a) any person not belonging to a class of people notified under Section 160; or (b) to any person who is not a permanent resident in that belt or block. This is in accordance with Chapter – X of the Assam Land and Revenue Regulation, 1886 (Regulation 1 of 1886) as amended by the Assam Land and Revenue Regulation (Amendment) Act, 19479 (Act XV of 1947).
As the said plot of land where a Signboard had been put up is within Tribal Block and as it belongs to the Department of Forest under BTC, the authorities of BTC have got every right to remove any illegal construction on government land. Therefore, the Signboard was removed on 28th May 2012 under the instructions of BTC authority.
In protest against this, the All Bodoland Minority Students’ Union called a 24-hour Kokrajhar District bandh the on 29th May 2012.
The ABMSU during the bandh targeted only the Bodos and attacked Danen Goyary, Dwimaly Brahma, Bimal Brahma and Jwngsar Brahma with severe injuries. Police personnel had also been attacked by ABMSU activists.
Does the law of the land support illegal occupation of land by any individual?
Interestingly, the law-breakers themselves demanded justice from the government. Is it not ridiculous?
On 30th May Sri Donald Gilfellon, Deputy Commissioner of Kokrajhar District convened an emergent meeting of different Political Parties of Kokrajhar district. The meeting condemned physical assault on civilians, burning of two-wheelers and four-wheelers by ABMSU during the bandh and termed their action as undemocratic. The meeting also expressed that ABMSU had pre-planned agenda to destabilize the peace of the district. The Deputy Commissioner of Kokrajhar referred in connection with the construction of mosque, temple etc. illegally on public places, to the Supreme Court of India’s Order dated 29th September 2009. The two components of the Order are (1) No unauthorized construction shall be carried out or permitted in the name of temple, church, mosque or gurudwara etc on public streets, public parks or other public places., and (2) Unauthorized construction of religious nature which had already taken place shall be reviewed on case-to-case basis and appropriate action shall be taken in every matter as expeditiously as possible. In this connection the DC of Kokrajhar circulated a Notification dated 1st June 2012 appealing all sections of the people of Kokrajhar District, to maintain peace and tranquility in the area by abstaining from spreading rumour that may create social tension among people.
On 6th July 2012 unidentified gunmen opened fire indiscriminately at Muslimpara Gaon near Antihara village under Dotma Police Station. Consequently, two Muslims named Md. Narul Haque and Md. Mujibar Rahman had been killed and three more persons injured. The Muslim community doggedly believed that behind this killing the Bodos were involved. On investigation, the police discovered that the incident was caused by the Kamatapuri Liberation Organization terrorists while one of them was apprehended in connection with the case registered in this regard. Though this was communicated to the Muslim people of the area, it was not believed by them and they strongly suspected the hands of the Bodo miscreants in the incident.
During the Lok Sabha debate on 8th August 2012 Honourable Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde confirmed this saying:
“On July 6, 2012 Kamatapuri Liberation Organisation terrorists fired indiscriminately at Muslimpara Gaon under Gossaigaon Police Station killing two persons belonging to Muslim community and injuring three persons. One KLO terrorist was arrested in connection with the case registered in this regard. Though this was communicated to the Muslim people of the area, it was not believed by them and they strongly suspected the hands of Bodo miscreants in the incident.”
Is there any ambiguity in this statement of the Honourable Home Minister? The fact was duly conveyed to the Muslims and we believe that they were aware of the fact. What then led the Muslims to rise against the Bodos? The real ground for rising against the Bodos was the stiff resistance by the BTC - incidentally run and administered by the Bodos – against their encroachment on a plot of land belonging to the Forest Department controlled by BTC.
On 19th July 2012 when some unknown miscreants on motorbikes fired indiscriminately in front of the residence of Mahibul Haque alias Ratul and Md. Abu Siddique both of Magurmari village under Kokrajhar Police station. Both have been said to be the office-bearers of All Bodoland Muslim Students’ Union. Mahibul Haque alias Ratul is a dismissed policeman, and well-known as an anti-social element in his own locality who received only a minor injury on his leg. It is believed by the local people that the happening was probably due to fallout on business matter.
The immigrant Muslim miscreants immediately reacted to this incident and on the same day attacked and ransacked the house of Jagadish Brahma, son of Lara Singh Brahma, inhabitant of Bhatipara at about 9 pm rendering heavy damages to doors, windows and the house. A case has been registered with Kokrajhar Police Station.
The Muslims deliberately attacked four Bodo youths and brutally killed them under the nose of BTC headquarters. This had happened this way. On 20th July 2012, four Bodo youths named Pradip Boro (32 Yrs.), Dhrubajit Goyary (28 Yrs.), Jatin Goyary (24 Yrs.), and Jwngsar Boro (27 Yrs.) were returning from Bhatipara side towards Kokrajhar on two motorcycles. At Joypur village, which is 1 km away from Kokrajhar Police Station, the four Bodo youths at about 8.25 p.m. noticed a gathering of a large body of Muslims, and the road blockaded with boulders. A Police patrol had just then arrived there and sensing that something did not look right, the four Bodo youths took shelter inside the Police van. But almost immediately the Muslim group dragged the four Bodo youths out of the van forcibly and slaughtered them most cruelly. The Police on duty there led by Bhuban Chandra Das, Officer-in-Charge of Kokrajhar Police Station, made no attempt to rescue and save the lives of those four Bodo youths from the clutches of the irate immigrant Muslims.
On 21st July 2012, Muslim miscreants attacked Paroura village, under Fakiragram Police Station, burned down Bodo houses and killed two Bodo women named Dandi Basumatary (62 Yrs.), wife of Laicharan Basumatary, and Dali Basumatary (65 Yrs.), wife of Atul Basumatary. Atul Basumatary (65 Yrs.) was also brutally attacked and wounded seriously. He was admitted to RNB Hospital, Kokrajhar in a critical condition. Another person named Randaram Narzary (70), son of late Tekla Narzary, inhabitant under Fakiragram PS, was attacked and brutally butchered. Villages When villagers were still busy in the cremation ground where mortal bodies of four youths were being cremated. The immigrant Muslims took advantage of this opportunity and committed the crime.
On 22nd July 2012, Bodo villages of Tulsibil, Aminkhata, Besorkona, Satbil under Gossaigaon Police Station were looted and burned down by Muslim immigrants. They also burned down Amritpur Brahma Sevashram, a residential High School, with 150 roll strength, situated at Antaibari.
But the most heinous act of abuse of official power was performed by Md. Abdul Razzak, I/C of Bhaoraguri Outpost who arrested on 23rd July 2012, two Bodo youths named Sanswrang Brahma (18 Yrs.), son of Daimusing Brahma and Joysat Brahma (19 yrs.), son of Goria Brahma of Koklingbari village under Gossaigaon Police Station from Second Bazar. These two young boys were returning home after participating at the Army Recruitment Rally at Titaguri, Kokrajhar. Md. Razzak handed over these two young boys to Muslim miscreants who killed them brutally. The dead body of Sanswrang Brahma was later recovered from a well at Second Bazar while Joysat Brahma’s body has not yet been recovered. However, it is presumed that he is already dead.
The immigrants Muslims burned down Bodo villages of Alurbhui, Tintila, Chakrasila part I and part II under Kokrajhar Police Station. One Charan Basumatary (65), son of late Saotal Basumatary of Chakrasila Part-I was killed and thrown into a well. His dead-body was later recovered on 28th July 2012.
The trail of violence described above, leads us to infer that the aggressors were the followers of Islam and were not Bodos. Violence started in full swing after the particular incident of killing of the four Bodo youths on 20th July 2012. Initially, the incidents were concentrated in Kokrajhar district but later on due to the Bandh call given by All Bodoland Muslim Stutents’ Union ABMSU), All Assam Minority Students’ Union (AAMSU), and O-Bodo Suruksha Samiti on 23rd July, the violence spread from Kokrajhar, Gossaigaon to Dhubri, Chirang and Bongaigaon.
A survey report reveals that 8 tribal belts or blocks under Kokrajhar District comprising of 124 villages have been occupied by the Muslims. Similarly 4 each in Chirang and Baksa Districts tribal belts or blocks 84 and 31 villages respectively have been occupied by the Muslims. In other words, a total of 234 villages under BTC area are now enjoyed by the Muslims who are deemed to be of East Bengal/East Pakistan/Bangladesh origin and do not fall under notified class of people under Section 160, sub-section (2).
On 11-12 August 2012, a team of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) visited the riot affected areas in BTC areas and Dhubri.
The National Commission for Minorities (NCM) after visiting relief camps submitted its report to the Prime Minister. The report states “It was emphasized that some political dialogue with Bodos and Shri Hagrama Mahilary, Chief Executive of the BTAD was absolutely essential. The Bodos need to be told firmly that they cannot under any circumstances engineer a mass exodus of non-Bodos. Nor would they ever get statehood this way.” How a statutory body like the NCM blames that the Bodos had engineered a forcible mass exodus of non-Bodos (I think the NCM refers to the immigrant Muslims)? The NCM reported that if security for the Muslims is not ensured they will become militants in the future. The apprehension of the NCM that Muslims might become militant if their security was not ensured is a kind of incoherent rhetoric. Can the NCM assure that Muslims will not become militant if they are given security? In fact, militant Muslim outfit like United National Army has already announced their intention for creating an independent Muslimland for Muslims living in north-east India. Does the NCM think that they are “poorly armed”? Muslim Militant groups in Northeast India have a common goal of greater independence for Muslims in the region. Their tactics include armed attack, extortion, kidnapping, manufacturing and smuggling of illegal weapons and explosives, and sale of illegal drugs. (Sunni Militancy in India: An Analytical Atlas, prepared by Katherine Hoffmann, Jiro Kodera, Peter Le Francois Charles Nicas, Jackson Reed, March 18, 2011).
The most tantalizing is the comparison of arms owned by both the Bodos and Muslims made by the NCM. Hear, what the NCM Report says on this count: “The conflict was unequal because the Bodos had left over arms from the BLT (AK-47 etc.,). The Muslims are very poorly armed in comparison, there can be grave danger in future in case militant jihadi outfits from the rest of the country start supplying lethal weapons in this area.” The study conducted by Katherine Hoffmann and others proves that militant Muslims are already supplying weapons and explosives to north-east particularly Assam. What perturbs me is that this statement is pointing to the Bodos as the aggressor. The NCM perhaps without any homework made this kind of statement. They should have made thorough research work before uttering such prejudiced remark.
The Assam Governor had instructed the DGP to conduct house-to-house search operation in BTAD for recovery of illegal arms and to take strict action as per the IPC and the Arms Act against the offenders. This is absolutely violation of human rights by the Governor. He thinks that the Bodos only possess arms and the rest are not having any arms. He is aware that the entire north-eastern region is insurgency affected region. Therefore he should have instructed the DGP to search every house in the whole of Assam to recover illegal arms that are possessed by militant outfits.
1 Md. Abdul Razzak, I/C of Bhaoraguri Outpost be dismissed immediately from his service and send him to judicial custody for misusing his power as government servant. In fact, he should be sentenced to death.
2 Eviction and or ejection of illegal occupiers of Tribal Belts and Blocks who are not entitled to own land within the Tribal Belts and Blocks as per Section 165, sub-sections (1), (2) and (3) of Chapter – X of the Assam Land and Revenue Regulation Act, 1886 as amended from time to time.
3 Implementation of Dhebar Commission Report of 1960-61 by restoring all the alienated tribal lands within Tribal Belts and Blocks with immediate effect with retrospective effect from the 26th January 1950 as recommended by the Dhebar Commission.
4 Institution of High Level Judicial Enquiry headed by one sitting Judge of the Supreme Court to conduct a detailed enquiry into the aggression made by immigrant Bengali Muslims on the indigenous Bodo people.
5 Strict adherence to Circular No. RSD.7/84/181, dated 29th November 1989 issued by Revenue (Settlement) Department, Settlement Branch, Government of Assam.
6 Unconditional release of Pradip Brahma, MLA and Mono Kumar Brahma, EM who have been falsely implicated.
7 NCM to publicly ask pardon for its communalizing comments.
8 Governor’s singling out of the Bodos as the possessors of arms and communalization the situation is unbecoming of him. Central Government should warn him for his un-parliamentary instructions and instruct him to abstain from such derogatory and communal instructions in future.
Jwi Boro Harini
Viv La Bodoland