Assam violence due to feud between Bodos and Muslims: NCM

The violence in Assam was a result of clashes between Bodos and "resident Muslims" and not Bangladeshi immigrants, the National Commission for Minorities has said while recommending setting up of an SIT to probe major incidents of violence in the state.

NCM Chairperson Wajahat Habibullah told PTI that the Commission has sent the report on the clashes to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and had personally taken up the matter with him during the Iftar party hosted by him yesterday.

"The Prime Minister told me that he has received the report," Habibullah said.
The panel said the conflict this time "was not between some exodus of Bangladeshi immigrants and the Bodos, but between Bodos and the resident Muslims of the BTAD".

Of course, some infiltration is taking place in all pockets of Assam all the time, but there has been no sudden influx from Bangladesh to trigger off such a major conflict, it said, pointing out that "when Muslims abandoned their villages, their houses were looted and gutted (which) might indicate a design to see that they do not return to their own villages."

The Commission members also brought to the notice of Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi the "danger of Muslims in the BTC becoming militants in the future, in case their security was not ensured".

"There can be grave danger in future in case militant Jihadi outfits from the rest of the country start supplying lethal weapons in this area.....Remedial action was necessary in view of the fact that conflicts in which Bodos were involved have been taking place over the last 15 years. Administration and the police especially have to deal with recalcitrants forcefully," the panel said.

The team comprising Member Planning Commission, Syeda Hameed, Advisor G B Panda, and NCP Member NCM, Keki N Daruwalla visited Bodoland Territorial Autonomous Districts (BTAD) and Kokrajhar, Gossain Gaon and Dhubri district between July 11 and July 12.

The Commission said the conflict was "unequal" because Bodos had left sophisticated arms while the Muslims are very poorly armed in comparison.

During the visit, the Commission members also visited the relief camps and noted that the "recurrence of violence was a major issue with most inmates".

"While the Administration has worked very hard, the women are malnourished, children unclad, toilet facilities meagre and hardly any place for people to take a bath. They also complained that their reports were not taken down as FIRs by police," the fact-finding team pointed out after visiting one of the camps.

It also said that the camps where Muslims were housed were in a pathetic condition mainly because of the much larger numbers.

About a camp in Grahampur High School, Gossaigaon, the NCM said it was a "horrendous" camp, with 6,569 inmates from 31 villages. "Because of overcrowding, conditions were abysmal."

During their camp visits, they also received complaints about some policemen allegedly hounding members of a particular community.

"Many inmates stated that Assam Police was a silent spectator when firing occurred...People stated their houses were burnt though they were situated just 200 mtrs from the police station but the police did not act. They alleged that the Assam Police was biased," the report said.

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