A fact-finding report on the recent violence in Baksa in Assam, released by the Centre for Policy Analysis on Wednesday, has blamed “hate speeches” by leaders for igniting up ethnic tensions in the State.
“On April 30, six days after the polling, Pramila Rani Brahma, an MLA from the ruling Bodoland Political Front party, made a statement that the BPF would find it hard to win these Lok Sabha elections as Muslims of the Bodoland Territorial Autonomous Districts (BTAD) had not voted for its candidate. She has, however, denied this,” says the report.
It also points out an election speech by BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in Dhemaji, alleging a conspiracy to eliminate the endangered rhinoceros in Assam to make way for Bangladeshi settlers.
Based on the report, the CPA has recommended a series of measures, including the appointment of a judicial commission for a time-bound probe, to ensure security and rehabilitation of the victims.
The report quotes the victims as saying that that among the attackers were surrendered militants who had been appointed by the BTAD as local forest guards. “The local security personnel also confirmed that some of the bullets on the victims’ bodies were from official forest rifles and others from automatic weapons,” the report says, alleging that the names of the accused had not been included in the FIRs.
The report recounts previous instances of violence fuelled by ethnic and religious hostilities since the 1979 “anti-foreigners” agitation in Assam in February 1983 and 1987. “The situation changed drastically in 1993 when the government signed the Bodo accord. In 1993, Bengali Muslims were killed and their homes looted and burnt,” says the report, adding that similar attacks happened in 2000 and in 2012.‘Revisit Bodo accord’
Citing the continual violence, the organisation has recommended that the Bodoland Accord be re-visited as it has become a divisive instrument. It also wants statements of the victims recorded under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code and all persons named arrested. “There must be a time-bound programme to confiscate all illegal weapons in the area,” says the report.