GUWAHATI, Feb 24 � In an unprecedented happening in the State, a protester who was taking part in a demonstration organised by the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), set himself ablaze in front of the Assam Secretariat this morning.
The protester � identified as Pranab Boro, a resident of Garchuk area in the city � later died at the Guwahati Medical College Hospital (GMCH). He suffered hundred per cent burn injuries and died at 4.28 pm, a hospital spokesperson said.
The agitators, led by KMSS president Akhil Gogoi, were demanding land patta (ownership rights) for people settling in hills, forests and wetlands.
Incidentally, the State Government also started the process of granting land patta to landless people living in the city�s hills and other government land (excluding reserve forests and wetlands) from today. The KMSS, however, has been opposing the Government�s land allotment process, insisting on settlement rights for the landless people occupying reserve forests and wetlands.
Holding the Government responsible for today�s tragedy, KMSS described Pranab Boro as a �martyr in the fight for securing land rights for the State�s landless indigenous people�, and said that it would continue with its agitation towards that end.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, while terming the incident as very unfortunate, said that some sections had been trying to put hurdles on the way of allotment of patta. �Everything has been carried out in consultation with KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi. They can demand that the process be expedited and raise other issues. We would listen to them. But they should not put a spanner in the process of distribution of land patta, which they have been demanding for long,� he said.
The Chief Minister added that the Government would rehabilitate the family of Boro by providing a job to one of his kin.