Communal Harmony threatened in Assam after Tinsukia Killings
GUWAHATI: The fact that the recent tiff between the Assamese and Bengali organizations that had been building up in the past few weeks led to the killing of at least 5 persons at Kherabari village, near Dhola Sadia bridge in Tinsukia on the first day of November, cannot be negated. While initially, United Liberation Front of Assam (Independent) – ULFA (I) - militants were suspected of carrying out the attack, the organization through a written statement released to the media, denied any involvement in the tragic incident.
“We The United Liberation Front of Asom(I) would like to make it clear to all concern authorities that our organization does not have any involvement in the firing incident that occurred on November 1 at Sadia Saikhowaghat in Tinsukia District,” a statement from ULFA (I) said.
This incident immediately got the attention of everyone as people started connecting the dots. Earlier last week, things got very ugly when former ULFA leader, Mrinal Hazarika, allegedly stated that people supporting the Citizen (Amendment) Bill 2016, might witness a mass killing like situation of the 1980s. Hazarika was speaking at a meeting organized by the Asom Songrami Mancha.
This statement by Hazarika had sparked tensions across the Bengali community in Assam. Several Bengali socio-cultural and youth organizations disapproved of Hazarika’s stand and entered into a verbal duel through a series of controversial replies. Some of the leaders even went to the extent of threatening to harm the Assamese people in the state.
“The whole NRC process is a conspiracy to oust the Bengalis from the state. Some leaders are trying to create tensions between the communities. If Hazarika thinks that he can resort to mass killing we can also do the same,” All BTC Bengali Youth Students Federation (ABBYSF) had allegedly said.
This had sparked outrage among KMSS and AASU and other organizations leading to filing of multiple FIRs against the organization.
Several Bengali socio-cultural organizations like Amora Bangala, All Assam Bengali Hindu Organization (AABHO), All BTC Bengali Youth Students Federation (ABBYSF), and the All Cachar Karimganj Hailakandi Students’ Association had demanded immediate stern action against Hazarika for making such inflammatory comments that could spark communal disharmony.
On 2nd November, just a day after the Tinsukia murders, Mrinal Hazarika was summoned by the Panbazar Police and was later arrested and produced before the court, which sent him to judicial custody of 14 days.
Meanwhile, as always, Hojai BJP MLA Shiladitya Dev again didn’t lose the opportunity of snatching his 15 minutes of fame and appealed to the government to arrest Mrinal Hazarika or he would submit his resignation.
“I urge the centre and the state government to take appropriate action against them for such communal remarks or I will submit my resignation. Me and a few other MLAs would also resign if the state government does not act against these ULFA leaders,” he said.
“Peace talks can only be held through discussions which these so called leaders have breached the line by making such remarks,” he said.
Rumours on Bengali organisations’ rally was the tipping point
Prabajan Virodhi Manch (PVM) Convenor, Upamanyu Hazarika, feels that the tensions started when rumours floated about Bengali socio-cultural organizations calling for a large convention at Khanapara Veterinary Field in Guwahati to garner support for the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
“The rumour of a large convention by the Bengali organizations was the root cause of confrontation between the organizations belonging to two different communities. People’s sentiment will be obviously hurt if a convention is called to garner support for a bill that can be a threat to the identity of the Assamese people. But ultimately it turned out to be false, there is no convention,” Upamanyu Hazarika told G Plus.
“The government is to be blamed for the mental harassment of people of Assam. Even after knowing that no permission was taken for the rally, Dispur however maintained that no such rally would be allowed by the government. It is a conspiracy on the part of the government to create a rift within the populace and shy away from the real issue – illegal immigration,” complained Hazarika.