Birsa Commando Force chief warns Dispur not to ignore the community’s silence
Dhubri, Dec. 24: Hundreds of Adivasis converged from neighbouring districts to join a rally that was taken out from Choibari tea estate in Dhubri district this morning to mourn the death of two youths killed in an encounter with the army in Udalguri three days ago.
The silent procession snaked through areas in the vicinity, including Chapor town, Chapor police station, Bahalpur and Rangamati before culminating in the cremation of the two youths.
The three cadres belonging to the militant Birsa Commando Force, which is in a ceasefire with the government since 2004, were killed in the encounter on December 21. The outfit has called a 24-hour statewide bandh on Saturday in protest against the killings.
"The rally passed off peacefully. There was no sloganeering, no beating of chests, nor threatening gestures. But it was clear from the body language that Dispur can ill afford to remain indifferent to the demands of the community which is feeling let down because of the way the probe into the Beltola rally that turned violent on November 24, 2007 was handled. Besides, there has been no progress on the Scheduled Tribe status," a source said.
The rally was organised by the Birsa Commando Force and Adivasis from all walks of life participated in it.
"We are pursuing peace as we believe in a peaceful resolution of all our demands. We have demanded a CBI inquiry into the killings of the three youths, Rs 10 lakh each to the kin of the dead and the security for Adivasis in the Bodoland Territorial Council areas. The only message we want to send to the government was not to ignore our silence. Members of most Adivasi organisations participated in the rally. A similar procession was taken out in the Baganpara area of Baksa district from where the other killed cadre came from," Birsing Munda, the commander-in-chief of the Birsa Commando Force, said after the cremation this afternoon.
Though the outfit was circumspect, the president of the All Adivasi Students Association of Assam, Justin Lakra, fumed over the attitude of the government towards his community.
"It is clear that the ruling Congress has hatched a conspiracy to suppress the Adivasi community. How will it explain the killing of these BCF members who were in ceasefire? Is it justified? We have no problem if they go after Adivasi National Liberation Army (ANLA), but why after AASAA or BCF cadres? It is wrong," Lakra said, conveying the community's displeasure with the ruling Congress.