From our Special Correspondent
SILCHAR, July 29 : “Both the Centre and the State Government of Assam are equally responsible for the large scale carnage in the BTAD(Bodoland Territorial Areas District) and the adjoining areas”, pointed out Kabindra Purkayastha, BJP MP of Silchar, while talking to The Sentinel here today. Expressing his deepest sense of anger and anguish at the week-long senseless killings, arsons and violence involving the Bodos and Muslims, he said that the Central Government allowed the situation to deteriorate by not intervening to assist the state with enough forces. The State Government, on the other hand, allowed the situation to drift instead of taking pre-emptive measures to tackle and contain the violence.
He would not like to term the violence as communal riot but a clash between infiltrators and Bodos. It was not a sudden flare up. Circumstances were created by a number of factors, most important being the identity crisis faced by the Bodos, he added. Unchecked infiltration from Bangladesh into Bodoland has posed a serious threat to the very identity and culture of the Bodos, besides causing greatest demographic topsy-turvy. It was in fact on July 2 that the ominous signal came out for the violence when the Bodos and non-Bodos had bloody skirmishes. The administrative machinery of Bodo Territorial Council and the state were caught napping, he pointed out. The State Government could not understand the problem which was building up.
Kabindra Purkayastha said, “There is still time to have a proper understanding and appraisal of the genesis of the crisis both by the Centre and the State. The violence on the sensitive and emotive issue of identity crisis among the Bodos has been taking place since 1952 and no serious and sincere exercise has been made to address to the root cause.” After all the violence, mayhem and deaths, it is true that rehabilitation and compensation process has begun and the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh has announced a package of Rs 300 crore. He described the gesture of the Prime Minister as quite humanitarian and at the same time raised the question, ‘would it heal the wounds?’ It is most unfortunate that even after repeated violence in Bodoland, the Centre and the State has been evading the core issue or the genesis of the problem. Another spate of violence against such background, he said, could not be ruled out.
The BJP leader and MP had a dig at Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh for his statement during his first tenure when as a part of the blatant appeasement policy of Congress, he said that the minorities have the first right on the natural resources of the country. The infiltrators in particular could not but be encouraged to lay their claims on the forests and even tribal lands. It only reflected, as he said, the primary concern of Congress led Government at the Centre is with vote-bank only. The lack of coordination between the Centre and the State in controlling the situation came out openly when the Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi took hold of the microphone, intervening in the press conference of the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh to deny that he had blamed the Centre for the escalating violence. It was no doubt a volte-face by the Chief Minister. Purkayastha said it was an attempt at self-defence by Tarun Gogoi and quite unbecoming of a Chief Minister.
Kabindra Purkayastha maintained on the question of right on natural resources, whether tribals or non-tribals, Bodos or non-Bodos, the important thing was that everything has to be seen keeping in view the mainstream of national life and within the framework of the Indian Constitution.On the continuation of conflict between the Bodos and Muslims even after the creation of Bodoland Territorial Areas District, he said it was a short term measure to accommodate the aspirations of the Bodos without trying to reach to the primary cause of crisis.
He would not like to comment on the question if the former rebels belonging to the Bodo Liberation Tiger (BLT) and NDFB (National Democratic Front of Bodoland) used fire arms kept by them freely in the violence. It was for the State Government to cause an independent inquiry to find out the truth. He made it clear that since there was no question of removing the illegal migrants, an impossible proposition or idea even if mooted in some quarters, the best option would be to take pro-active measures to stop further influx, besides ensuring that there was no repeat of the violence in future.