GUWAHATI, May 14 � Over a thousand intellectuals, writers, activists, social workers and peace-loving citizen from across Assam participated in a three-hour �sit-in for peace and harmony� at the NCP ground, Ambari here in protest against the recent carnage in Kokrajhar and Baksa districts.
The demonstration was organised under the banner of concerned citizen of Assam.
Through the protest, the participants submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister, the Governor and the Chief Minister highlighting some crucial points.
�All the participants of the protest condemn the brutal killing of innocent people in Balapara village of Kokrajhar district, Narsingbari, Nanke Khagrabari and Narayanguri villages of Baksa district that occurred on May 1 and 2. It demands immediate arrest and stringent punishment against the culprits for their heinous crime against humanity,� the protesters said in a statement.
The participants demanded long-term security arrangement for vulnerable people at least for five years to thwart possible attacks of extremists targeting innocent people to put pressure on the Government regarding their demands.
�It is seen that security measures are taken up for about two months after such incidents and then the area is left open to prey for the miscreants once again,� it observed.
�The economy-related geo-political set-up of BTC under the Sixth Schedule of the Indian constitution for the safeguard of the indigenous tribes in particular and the overall development of all the people in the area, cannot be held responsible for the ongoing tension in the region. Hence we urge that no initiation should be made to make any alteration in the existing setup of BTC as being propagated by certain vested interest groups,� it said.
The citizens further demanded a �thorough and objective� inquiry into the various socio-political, economic, and extremist-related factors that have been instrumental in contributing to the repeated occurrence of violence in BTC.
Citing the presence of a large number of illegal arms under the possession of various groups/individuals as a matter of serious concern, the protesters demanded immediate seizure of the same. �Existence of illegal arms is one of the most influential factors giving rise to repeated occurrence of violence in Assam,� they said, adding that no innocent people, especially youths, should be harassed in the name of nabbing the culprits.
Another demand was for immediate and adequate compensation to the families or next of kin of the victims of the violence.
�The Government must take steps towards controlling the panic and fear generated out of rumour/news related to possible incident of violence,� it added.
Speaking on the occasion, Kanak Sen Deka, veteran editor and former president of Asam Sahitya Sabha, said, �Indigenous communities have grievances, Bodos too have genuine concerns and grievances, but these grievances must be addressed peacefully. The violence such as the recent one must be stopped. The Bodos need to take leadership in restoring peace and harmony in Bodo areas as we cannot expect anything from present ruling Government.�
Surath Narzary, writer and educationist, while stressing the importance of peace for progress, said that irrespective of the differences people needed to co-exist. �All divisive forces must be identified, the criminals who are involved in heinous crimes like killing human beings must be given stringent punishment so that justice prevails,� he added. �
In his concluding remarks, Prof Monirul Hussain expressed his solidarity to the cause for which the sit-in was organised. Raju Narzary, co-organiser of the event, gave the vote of thanks.
The memorandum was signed by all the participants including Surath Narzary, former principal of Kokrajhar Government College; Krishna Gopal Basumatary, director, Bodofa UN Academy; Gobindo Boro, Associate Professor, Kokrajhar Govt. College; Dr DD Mwchahary, Associate Professor, Kokrajhar Govt. College; Kanak Sen Deka, former president, Asam Sahitya Sabha; Dr. Prafulla Mahanta, former director, ABILAC; Dilip Chandan, Editor of Asam Bani; Dr Dinesh Baishya, former principal of B Borooah College; Taren Boro, former vice president of Bodo Sahitya Sabha; Akhil Gogoi, chief of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti; Dr Subung Basumatary, principal, Janata College, Serfanguri; Dr Anil Boro, Associate Professor, GU; Dr Manirul Hussain, Professor, GU; Luke Daimary, principal, Udalguri College; Raju Narzary, executive director, North East Research & Social Work Networking, among others.