TANGLA: There has been simmering tension in Udalguri following the killing of Khairul Haque, a Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) party worker who was gunned down by unidentified armed miscreants at Bhutiachang in Udalguri district on Friday evening.
The All BTC Minority Students’ Union (ABMSU) strongly condemned the killing of Khairul Haque and demanded the arrest of the culprits within 24 hours and stern action against them. More than 600 people along with supporters of All Koch Rajbongshi Students’ Union (AKRSU), All Adivasi Students’ Association of Assam (AASAA) along with activists of ABMSU staged a road blockade over the bridge of Mangaldoi-Bhutiachang State Highway-4 in Udalguri district on Saturday, where Haque was gunned down from point-blank range by the unidentified miscreants.
The gathering raised their voice in unison for the arrest of the culprits involved in the killing within 24 hours and blocked the road for nearly two hours. But after due assurance by the Bhergaon subdivisional administration that the culprits will be arrested soon, the gathering dispersed.
“Why are religious minorities made soft targets of miscreants every now and then in the Bodo belt? Does our life not count?” said the general secretary of ABMSU, Taison Hussain. “There are illegal firearms with extremists and criminals in the Bodo belt and the killings have validated the fact,” alleged Hussain. “The incident proves that there are security loopholes ahead of the BTC council polls and militants and criminals are taking advantage of the same and carrying out subversive activities to create fear psychosis among the people,” he added. Hussain further said, “If the police administration fails to arrest the culprits within the time frame we will be bound to launch various democratic protests by staging road blockades and declaring bandhs in the BTAD.”
“The recent Bodo pact promised of bringing everlasting peace in the region but how can such claims be pursued when religious minorities are prime targets in BTC?” said the president of the Udalguri chapter ABMSU, Saheb Khan.
Paneri MLA Kamali Basumatari, Kalaigaon MLA Maheswar Baro and BTC Regional Minority cell member Tara Khatun also visited the bereaved family members of Haque.
A memorandum addressed to Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal was also handed over to the Executive Magistrate of Bhergaon, Kushal Sarma. In the memorandum, the students’ body demanded arrest of the culprits involved within 24 hours and exemplary punishment under relevant provisions of law, to provide ex-gratia compensation of Rs 20 lakh to the victim’s family, immediate seizure of illegal firearms from the Bodo belt and government job to a kin of the victim on compensatory ground and to ensure safety and security of the lives and properties of the common people residing in the BTAD.
“We have found some clues and we are working on it and also looking into every possible angle. We are also waiting for the Call Details Record (CDR),” a senior police officer told this correspondent on condition of anonymity.
BTC supremo Hagrama Mohilary also visited the victim’s family and paid floral tributes by placing a wreath and the organizational flag of BPF over the body of Haque. Mohilary also assured of providing government jobs to kin of Haque in BTC.
Talking to media persons, Mohilary said, “There is a political conspiracy behind the killing of Haque and ahead of every election- be it assembly, Parliament or BTC Council polls - there have been such incidents. I appeal to the administration to nab the culprits. I will also urge the Assam Government to set up a police outpost in Garuajhar area as it has been a long-pending demand of the public.”
Kokrajhar Lok Sabha MP Naba Kumar Sarania also visited the victim’s family on Saturday and condemned the unprecedented killing of Haque. “The locals spotted the Scooty of the assailants and the last four digits of the registration number is 9994. There are also claims that assailants called up the victim to bring him to an isolated place. I believe if the government is genuinely interested then the culprits could be nabbed within 24 hours,” said Sarania.
“We will continue to voice for the rights of the indigenous non-Bodo people and until and unless ever-lasting peace returns to the Bodo belt, we will not stop,” added Sarania.