GUWAHATI, Aug 6 � Though the Bodoland Territorial Autonomous Districts (BTAD) area has a history of ethnic clashes including a number of serious clashes between people of Bodo and Muslim communities, the administration failed to apprehend the situation despite the fact that simmering tension was brewing for some time and the lynching of four youths near Kokrajhar town resulted in the situation flaring up.
Though the BTAD was formed in 2003, the area has been witnessing violence between people of Bodo and Muslim communities since the early 1990s and according to records available, more than 100 persons were killed in ethnic clashes in 1993. But it was a one-sided clash as the Muslims, particularly those suspected as �immigrants� faced the attacks. The second major violence between the two communities took place in Udalguri and Darrang districts in 2008, in which more than 61 persons were killed, while, according to official records alone, at least 65 persons have been killed in the recent clashes in Kokrajhar and Chirang districts.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, highly placed security sources admitted that the administration failed to take lessons from the history of the clashes in the past, which resulted in the situation flaring up. Sources said that with the chain of events like simmering tension between the two communities and sporadic incidents of violence, the Government should have apprehended that one spark would result in the situations flaring up. But apparently, the administration failed to interpret that the situation would go out of control so soon.
Sources pointed out that the Government failed to take strong action immediately after the clashes started and Government action started two days after the clashes began, by that time, it was too late as the situation already deteriorated. Sources admitted that rushing of extra forces to the State was delayed, but one must understand that the forces had to be withdrawn from other states to be deployed in Assam, which took time. In fact, immediately after the clashes broke out, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had asked the State Government to make use of the available forces by redeployment of the same till additional forces reached the state.
Sources pointed out that to control such situations in future, the Government must issue strict instructions to the police and security forces to take strong action against anyone found to be indulging in clashes and steps must be taken to ensure that the actions of the law enforcing agencies are always impartial. Immediate and strong action by the police and security forces could have prevented the situation from flaring up. For example, as the security forces did not take strong action, a section of people attacked passenger trains , which resulted in disruption of train services for days, sources pointed out.
Security sources also pointed out that steps must be taken to remove apprehensions from the minds of the people belonging to different ethnic groups as they are of the view that their lands were occupied by �outsiders� and the Government must protect the tribal belts and blocks immediately to prevent such unfortunate clashes in the future.