GUWAHATI, May 11 � Easy availability of illegal weapons, both in the hands of militants and others, has been posing a serious threat to democracy in the Bodoland Territorial Autonomous Districts (BTAD) area, and though the All Bodo Students� Union (ABSU) has been taking up the issue at various levels since 2008, the problem still remains grave.
It may be mentioned here that the police and security forces recovered more than 160 illegal weapons since January this year and more than 90 per cent of those were recovered from the BTAD area. Following the killing of more than 40 innocents in the districts of Kokrajhar and Baksa, the government is planning another major drive against illegal weapons.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, ABSU president Pramod Boro said that the student body has been taking up the issue at various levels since 2008, but both the Central and State governments failed to take serious note of the problem. He said that only in the years 2008 and 2009, more than 150 people were killed in the BTAD area with illegal weapons. He revealed that the student body had submitted memoranda to the Union Home Ministry as well as to the Governor and Chief Minister of Assam demanding immediate action to seize the illegal weapons. But the government failed to take serious note of the issue. The ABSU also moved the National Human Rights Commission on the issue and the Commission directed the Assam Police to investigate the matter. But the police investigation was not �satisfactory�.
On the recent BTAD killings, Boro pointed out that the Assam Police has been claiming that militants belonging to the Songbijit faction of the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) were involved in the incidents, while, the family members of the victims have been claiming that there was a political angle to the killings. Under the circumstances, only a thorough probe by a Central organization can bring out the truth, he said.
On the problems created by illegal weapons in the BTAD area, the ABSU president said that these days some people brandish guns even to settle minor disputes and the common people are scared of raising their voices on any issue. Illegal weapons were used openly in every subsequent election in the BTAD area, which has posed a serious threat to democracy.
It is a well known fact that the active militant groups have been using weapons and from time to time, they also come into armed conflict with the police and security forces. But the police is turning a blind eye to the use of illegal weapons by persons who are not members of any militant group, and whenever such persons indulge in any kind of violence, police only report the same as �acts of armed miscreants�.