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Minority Citizens' Council backs rehabilitation in BTAD

In the backdrop of the recent episodial babarity between a particular section of the Muslim community and the Bodos, the Minority Citizens' Council, Assam (MCCA)- a body formed to be a conglomeration of several civil organizations yesterday called a Citizens' Meet at the Kalakshetra Auditorium, Guwahati to dicuss, examine and review peace, communal harmony security and rehabilitation possibilities of the displaced peoples in areas of the Bodoland Territorial Autonomous District.

President of the Council, Professor Abdul Mannan, Department of Statistics, Gauhati University deliberating on the occassion said that the CM seemed oblivious to gross violation of human rights not just collectively but individually too. He said that of the Muslim villages set afire some were bulldozed levelling the land plain to make it appear like agricultural land. “Examining all these things it can be construed that it is a premeditated riot and a well planned effort of ethnic cleansing,” he claimed.

Retired Engineer, Kamrud Zaman Ahmed having led a 15 member team from Guwahati as early as July 7-8 to study the situation in certain areas of Dhubri and Kokrajhar alongwith Shabnam Hasmi and Naveed Alam of the National Integration Commission feels a planned pogrom instrumental in the widespread arsons.

Taufiqur Rahman Borbora, former principal of the Assam Medical College, Dibrugarh terming it a grave mistake questioned into the killing of the four Bodo youths by a section of the migrant Muslims on July 19. He held the opinion that senseless execution of the four Bodo youths led to the ultimate expulsion of four lac people who are in relief camps now. “Members of the factionalised AAMSU should be told to practise restrain,” he asserted.

Meanwhile Professor Dilip Bora, Reader MIL, Gauhati University and Chairman, Peoples' Forum for Democracy (PFD) alleged that statements issued by the State Government, Central Government, the Opposition and the BTAD authorities were not in good light and that they have grossly misled the masses. He further stated that in a modern country, the citizenry should be able to acquire their rights to live under protection and that the Government of India should exercise their due reponsibilty to rehabilitate the displaced peoples.

Speakers attending the meet shared their views on matters encapsulating humanatarian prospects and expressing their displeasure in the mistrust of the age old unity among the different communities residing in the BTAD condemned the heinous incidents. The MCCA categorically demanded the negative forces to be booked and punished in accordance with the law.

Meanwhile MCCA's proposed draft resolution subject to review, addition and scrutiny speaks about the institution of peace and normal life in the BTAD, non-communalisation of the issue by political parties and civil organizations, systematic rehabilitation and financil aid to the displaced, deployment of permanent police pickets in sensitive areas, confiscation of illegal arms from the public, issuance of duplicate legal documents in lieu of those lost to arson by the district authoritinavid alames, the local panchayats and the headmans concerned, establishment of educational institutes in the backward BTAD areas, assurance of jobs to the educated unemployed youths and implementation of the 2003 BTC Accord in toto amongst others. MCCA proposes to meet the Assam CM, the Central Government authorities and even international bodies to address the issue of rehabilitation of the displaced peoples. Come August 25 and 26 MCCA plans to further discussions to solidify its resolutions.

Commenting on Al Jazeera's Inside Story last July, Suhas Chakma, Director of the Asian Centre for Human Rights said that, “The problem between the Bodos and other communities over land and natural resources is a continuing issue that has been going on for the last 100 years...Unless the Government of India finds a political solution to this problem, this will continue.”

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