By Our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, January 18: Nearly a month after the massacre of over 80 people, skeletons are starting to tumble out of the closet, putting the government’s response under scrutiny.
A fact finding team of the Women in Governce (WinG)–Assam and All Adivasi Women Association of Assam (AAWAA) detected numerous lapses on the part of the police and administration, both before and after the carge, even as the displaced people continued to reel under a sense of insecurity.
In one such finding, the fact–finding team was informed by the village people and Adivasi leaders in Kokrajhar district that there was prior information with Assam Police about this plan of killing Adivasis ahead of the incident, “which was communicated to an Adivasi leader over phone to inform the people to stay safe rather than tightening up securities in those areas”.
“According to sources in Lungsung, the police from Bismari Police Station reached the spot 20 hours after the incident. It was a total failure on the part of police administration to provide security to the Adivasi villagers,” the fact finding team said in its report. Bodo rebels had massacred eight people in Lungsung village.
The report also raised questions of the role of police in Dhekiajuli where three protestors were killed in police firing. “Police could have used the means of tear gas, lathis to control the agitated mob, but instead the police opened fire on the mob, which resulted in death of three innocent protesters. The OC of Dhekiajuli PS told the fact–finding team that the agitated protesters damaged public properties, properties of the police station, threw stones at the police, but apparently none of the police personnel got injured in the attack and the fact finding team did not notice any damage to the police station,” the report mentioned.
The WinG and AAWAA members also observed that no lady police officer was stationed in any of the relief camps when most of the inhabitants were women, girls and children. “The security issue was questioble in these camps. Most of the camps had no electricity and insufficient security personnel, many of the inhabitants shared their feeling of insecurity to the team members,” the reported said.
The role of the administrations was also put under scrutiny. “Sources revealed that District In–charge of Chirang asked the displaced people to return to their homes. The district in–charge promised to provide them relief if they return to their homes. But the provisions of security in the affected areas were almost negligible that led to fear in the minds of the people to go back to their homes,” the report added.
In many places, the administrations failed to act promptly in retrieving the bodies and dead animals.
“If the past history of 1996, 1998, and 2010 is looked at, BTAD has a history of ethnic violence, bloodshed and killing. But despite this the government failed to take it as a lesson and make a road map to prevent such violence,” the team noted with regret.
The fact–finding intervention by the women groups were conducted from January 2 to January 6.
Sixteen relief camps are still sheltering around 26,000 displaced people in the BTAD.