Background of BTAD Violence in Assam. & What the Victims Need Now
Dr. A. Bashar
Associate Professor Chemistry
B.P.Chaliha College, Nagarbera, Kamrup, Assam
President, NCHRO, Assam Chapter
Rehab India Foundation
Bodo people formed an extremist group in the last part of 20th century i.e. around 1990 in the name of NDFB (National Democratic Front of Bodoland) and BLT (Bodo Liberation Tigers). They went underground and were beyond the control of the government due to their ferocious armed struggles. They killed many people, exploded many bombs, extorted my. It is believed that the BLT was the creation of BJP.
Ultimately, Assam as well as Indian government had no alternative than to sign an agreement during the tenure of BJP in 2003 giving them the autonomous council under 6th Schedule of Indian constitutions which is in fact meant for Hill tribals but given to plains bodo tribals. The BLT head Hagrama Mahilari along with his colleagues came over ground and formed a Political party called BPF (Bodo Peoples Front) but he along with thousands of BLT cadres did not surrender or lay down their arms which they procured during their violent movement. There had been no fare election in the BTAD in all the election as the ex-BLT cadres having arms in their hand came out freely in favour of BPF party.
As per terms given in the agreement, the area having at least 27% Bodo people had to be included in the BTAD area but practically found that the Government had to bow down to Bodo leaders and included many villages without a single bodo people in quite unjustified way but the people these are did not gather courage to protest due ferocious bodo extremists.
BTAD formed and ultimately the BPF party came to power in coalition with congress in 2006 with 11 MLAs as Congress did not have absolute majority. They got 4 vital post in the ministry. The congress again tagged them the ministry in 2011 although Congress had absolute majority. Bodo leader deprived all the non-bodo people comprising Muslims and Hindus. From the very beginning of their agitation the non-body people lost their all rights. They had to pay Tax to the Extremist group and even now they are paying tax to the ex-BLT cadres. The tax payer includes from peon to even cigarette sellers. In the bus these people have to give seat to bodo people because of obvious reasons.
From last few years the all the different Bodo Organizations including Bodo Sahitya Sabha demanding a separate state for the Bodos. There is rumors that the area containing 27% Bodo people may be included in the State, if it is given to them in future. But actually the % of Bodo people in the is only 20%. So they were trying to reduce the % of Non-Bodo % by depriving and driving them from the area.
The non-bodo organizations have started opposing the Demanded Separate Bodo State. There was conflict between the two sections. The demand of separate state and counter demand condensed this year. Many non Bodo people left the Bodo area and settled out side BTAD area. In the mean time, it is said that, BJP came forward and tried to separate the Muslims from the Hindus of the non-Bodo group.
On 6th July, 5 Muslim leaders were fired by the ex-BLT group and no justice was given to them. The government stood in favour of the culprits. On 19th again some Muslim people were fired. On 20th july, 2012 four bodo youths were killed in the Muslim area by the Muslims as reported in the media. The dead body of the killed bodo youths were taken out for procession and an excitement was created and killing of innocent Muslims started. Lakhs of people left their homes and fled to safer places. Their houses were burnt to ashes, many were killed by the bodo youths. In some placed Muslims retaliated and properties of Bodo people were damaged. Thousands of people from both the communities, mostly Muslims, become homeless and started living in the relief camps. There are about 275 camps in the area. Out of them 171 camps are for innocent Muslims. In some camps there are more than 50,000 people are living. Media were also biased in many cases. The chief of BPF Mr. Hagrama Mahilary gave a statement that these Muslims are Bangladeshi (Foreiners). In the mean time some BJP leaders including L.K. Advanin vistited the area to manage the BPF party in favour of them and then situation deteriorated further. Now the BPF party and almost 23 bodo organization are demanding to justify the Muslims as whether they are Indian or not and only then these people will be allowed to return their homes. In this way instead of giving punishment of the culprits a U turn has been given to the incident.
The statements of State Government and Central Government are contradictory. One is blaming the other.
As per government report 78 people have been killed but unofficial sources said the death toll would be several hundreds.
Now the victims are hanging in the sky whether they will be able to go back or not. In some remote camps the security of the people is lying in hand of almighty Allah because no body, even Government machinery and media persons, can enter those places.
In the mean time protest against the killing of innocent Muslim people has been started in various places of the country.
These people are now living in the camps like animals. Thousands of people are residing in small school or club or in polythene tents. The atmosphere become very dirty and hundreds of people especially the children are suffering from various diseases due to unhygienic atmosphere. There are no sufficient doctors in the hand of Government to cope up the unprecedented situation; there is no food, medicines, mosquito net, sanitary items, fire wood, cloth, Iftari, Buckets, latrines, drinking water. Many children have boils on their skin and skin infection due to open sun rays and also heat through the plastics and polythene tents. They need alround support from people of country. They need security. They want to go to their sweet homes which were their dreams of life.