Assam armed groups: Revolution gone, terrorism on
Posted on October 19th, 2009

Nava Thakuria

If someone wants to see revolutionary armed rebels, who donot hesitate to show their supremacy on the unarmed common people, but never dare to fight against the government armed forces, please visit Assam. The Northeastern State has given space for over ten active militant outfits, which have been waging a war against the Union government of India for various demands ranging from sovereignty to self rule.

Most of the insurgent outfits of Assam were born out of some ideology and ethics, but slowly they lost their conscience. Now they are visible, not by pursuing any pro-people initiatives, but with an uninterrupted disruptive activities in the State. And every time, most of the victims turned out to be the innocent people, who have no business with the aim and activities of the armed outfits.

The recent massacre of fifteen villagers, including women and children, in Bhimajuli of Sonitpur district in central Assam, can prove it beyond doubts that the armed cadres of those militant groups have totally lost their direction and wisdom. And slowly they have turned themselves into some merciless killing machines, but without logic and heroism. The primary cause of the massacre was the non-payment of extortion money by the poor villagers to the militant groups.

The people of Bhimajuli in Balichang area, which is around 300 km away from Guwahati had decided in a public meeting on October 1 that they would not further entertain the demands of the militants and hence would never pay the extortion money to the banned armed outfits. The strong message from the villagers was annoying (and unacceptable) to the militants and so they retaliated on October 4. Over ten people belonging to various communities lost their lives on the spot, as the armed cadres of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Ranjan Daimary faction) fired on them indiscriminately in the fateful evening.

Quoting Dil Bahadur Limbu, the All Assam Gorkha Students Union chief, the local media reported that the NDFB went on killing spree only to teach the villagers a lesson as they decided not to pay donations to them. Earlier the NDFB cadres distributed leaflets in the locality, where mainstream Assamese, Bodo Tea tribe people and Gorkhalis (Nepali) live in harmony, and demanded huge amount of money from the residents.

The gory incident tempted the villagers of Bhimajuli and its adjacent areas to lodge protest against the police inaction during the militant attack. Hundreds of local residents gathered in front of the Balichang police outpost and expressed their anger against the administration. The tension was heightened as the local people got almost polarized between the Bodo tribe and non-Bodos. Finally the Army personnel had to be deployed in the locality to bring the situation into normalcy.

The massacre was shocking and it attracted massive media attention. Understanding the gravity of the situation, the Assam government ministers including Dr Bhumidhar Barman, Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma, Bharat Narah with the State police chief Shankar Barua rushed to spot next day. The State chief minister Tarun Gogoi visited the location on October 9 and talked to the victim families. Acknowledging the failure on the part of administration in ensuring safety to the people and pragmatic actions against the militancy, Gogoi declared a compensation of rupees five lakh each to the nearest relatives of the victims.

The incident of violence invited quick and harsh reaction from every political party to advocacy and civil society groups. The main opposition political party in the State Asom Gana Parishad chief CM Patowary came with strong words against the chief minister Gogoi, as he also serve as the State home minister, for his failure to protect the live and property of common people in the State.

The AGP’s electoral partner in Assam, Bharatiya Janata Party (Assam unit) sent a memorandum to the President Pratibha Devisingh Patil, where it alleged that the Tarun Gogoi led government had failed to take affective initiative and measures to curb the escalating violence, created by various armed militants in the State.

Asserting that the tenure of Gogoi as the chief minister, witnessed the highest number of incidents of murder (11,170), kidnapping (15,415) and even rapes (9,687), the State BJP president Ramen Deka urged the President’s intervention to the worsening socio-political situation of the State.

Various protest programmes were organized by the influential All Assam Students’ Union, All Assam Tea Tribes Students’ Association and their supportive wings against the slaughtering of people by the militants. The student organizations also criticized the government for its failure in its responsibility to protect the lives of citizens and bring peace to the State.

The Nirjyatan Birodhi Oikya Mancha, Gorkha Janamukti Morcha with many other organizations also condemned the attack on innocent people by the armed militant groups.

Lately the journalists with eminent citizens, artists and social activists marched in the city streets to register their protest against terrorist brutality in Bhimajuli. They gathered at the Guwahati Press Club premises on October 15 and later paraded shouting slogans including “ƒ”¹…”Hang the Terrorists’, “ƒ”¹…”Down with Terrorism’, “ƒ”¹…”We condemn Government Inaction,’ “ƒ”¹…”Stop killing the Children’ etc.

Earlier a brief meeting was organized on the press club campus, which was addressed by the esteemed senior citizens namely Tulsi Govinda Baruah and Dhirendra Nath Chakrabarty. Both the speakers deplored the callous attitude of the administration and the government in dealing with the issue of terrorism.

The protesters came out following an appeal by a group of senior citizen-journalists to the people against the violent activities endorsed by all armed groups of the region. The appeal, signed by DN Bezboruah (former editor The Sentinel and former chairman of Editors’ Guild of India), DN Chakrabarty (former editor of Dainik Asom, Ajir Batori and Natun Dainik), Nirupama Borgohain (academy award winner littƒÆ’†’©rateur and columnist), TG Baruah (chairman of The Assam Tribune group of newspapers) with Hiten Mahanta, Rupam Baruah, Mihir Deuri, Ranen K Goswami, Pramod Kalita, Sabita Lahkar, Mukul Kalita, N. Thakuria asserted that the armed cadres of the region had shown no respect for human values, as they could attack even the children for their vested interest and hence those rebels should be dealt with firm hands.

On the other hand, the appeal added, even after knowing that the residents of Bhimajuli area had decided not to pay extortion money to the militants in a public meeting, the administration failed to provide proper security arrangement for the villagers.

“The authority turned a blind eye to the issue and thus surrendered to the gun-totting youths of the banned organization. And because of the reckless attitude and inaction on the part of the State government, over ten people, including women and children had to lose their precious lives,” the appeal concluded.

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