'Taxed’'villagers gherao Chariduar police station in Sonitpur, MLA Padma Hazarika complains to CM
GUWAHATI, March 23: The Tarun Gogoi government never tires of patting itself on the back that law and order in the State has improved considerably, but the situation on the ground is alarming as Dispur continues to abdicate. Almost every family in Sonitpur district’s Bogibeeli village is paying ‘tax’ to the tiol Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) in return of security for their lives. This brazen levying of protection money by the militant outfit has been going on for long. Bogibeeli is used as a corridor by NDFB ultras to cross over to the Himalayan kingdom.
Irrespective of range of income and social status, each family of the village pays Rs 160 to the NDFB per month. However, the ‘tax’ rate is different for traders in the area.
And not just Bogibeeli, inhabitants of some other Sonitpur villages too are forced to meet the outfit’s extortiote demands.
Irked by the iction of the State government as well as the police, inhabitants of Bogibeeli village gheraoed Chariduar police station on Sunday, demanding action against NDFB ultras. The irate villagers alleged that the State authorities are yet to set up a temporary police camp in the village, despite their long-standing demand. The police station in the area has also failed in checking the activities of the rebel group, the villagers alleged.
Talking to The Sentinel, local MLA Padma Hazarika said, “Bogibeeli is used as a corridor by NDFB rebels to cross over to Bhutan. I demanded several times a police camp at the village for its inhabitants’ security, but it is yet to be met by the authorities concerned. I suspect some police officials in the area are hand-in-glove with these ultras.”
On Monday, Padma Hazarika shot off a written complaint to Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on the issue. “After receiving the written complaint, the Chief Minister gave an instruction to transfer the OC of Chariduar police station immediately and assured that a police camp will be set up at Bogibeeli village soon,” Hazarika said.
A trader, on condition of anonymity, told this reporter from Sonitpur district: “We regularly get such ‘tax’ notices from the NDFB. We are forced to pay up for our safety. Not only we but Central and State government employees too pay money regularly to the rebel outfit. The government must take concerted action against the outfit if we are to feel secure.”