Violence erupts during Kokrajhar polls, three ABSU members injured
GUWAHATI: Poll related violence is something which is not common to the region as compared to the rest of the country. But one such incident of violence erupted in Kokrajhar constituency shortly before the election ended on 23rd April. At around 5 pm four to five people attacked two members of the All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) at Shantinagar near Durga Das LP School and three vehicles were damaged by the attackers.
The ABSU members and UPPL supporters who were attacked were on their way to get the polling agent assigned at Shantinagar. The victims have been identified as Ratan Basumatary aged about 22, Kwrwmdao Mushahary aged about 23, and Dhrubajit Brahma aged about 29. They received injuries on the hand, shoulder, back knee and elbow.
The wounded were immediately shifted to the RNB Hospital in Kokrajhar. UPPL’s Kokrajhar candidate Urkhao Gwra Brahma and ABSU General Secretary Lawrence Islary strongly condemned the incident urging the authorities to take strict action against the attackers.
The attackers indentified allegedly were BPF volunteers whose names are Bilifang Narzary alias Barkang and Udlla, Anthony Basumatary, Dansling Mushahary, Kabiranjan Brahma (Ex-BLT member), Swgwmsath Basumatary (president Bodoland Students’ Union) and Julius Basumatary alias Bappi. They were armed with weapons and bamboo sticks and were travelling in Innova, Scorpio, Bolero and i20.
Superintendent of Police, Kokrajhar, Rajen Singh, said that the police jumped into action as soon as they got news and took two vehicles from the place. He assured that strict action will be taken and that the culprits would be indentified and arrested soon.
The Kokrajhar unit of the ABSU, on 26th April, while addressing a press conference, the student body’s general secretary, Humdon Brahma alleged that the police till now have not arrested anyone even after days of lodging a complaint against six people on that very same day. Brahma demanded justice or else the students’ body will launch a protest against the incident.
They further stated that another attack happened at the Subash Palli Road at Shantinagar. In the attack, two people were injured. They have been identified as Kwrwmdao Mushahary who was hit and received injuries on his back while trying to flee and the other was Ratan Basuymatary who was blatantly attacked on his head and was left grievously injured. He was also taken to RNB Civil Hospital and was later rushed to GNRC Hospital, Guwahati.
Amid violence Kokrajhar sees high turnout
Kokrajhar recorded 83.16 percent voter turnout. The assembly constituents under the Kokrajhar Lok Sabha constituency are Gosaigaon, Barama, Kokrajhar East, Sorbhog, Bhabanipur, Tamulpur, Bijni, Sidli and Chapaguri.
During the 2014 Lok Sabha, Kokrajahar constituency saw a turnout 80.94 percent which is 3 percent less than 2019. In 2019 Bijni recorded 87.72 percent turnout following which Kokrajhar West was at 86.68 percent, Sorbhog at 85.35 percent, Gossaigaon at 84.02 percent, Kokrajhar east at 82.20 percent, Sidli at 81.60 percent, Chapaguri at 81.38 percent, Tamulpur at 80.33 percent and Baram at 78.90 percent.
During 2014 Lok Sabha elections, ex-ULFA rebel Naba Kumar Sarania won from the Kokhrajhar seat as an independent candidate defeating another independent candidate Urkhao Gwra Brahma by a margin of 2,78,649 votes. Brahma has contested the poll this time on a UPPL ticket.
Being a hard belt of the NDFB, militancy has been plaguing the area. The people over there always had one demand and that was for peace to return to their land. Voters in the area said that more than being concerned about the citizenship bill, they were concerned with peace in the area.
Out of the total 13 candidates the four main contenders who contested the election for the Kokrajhar Lok Sabha seat are Pramila Rani Brahma (BPF), Urkhao Gwra Brahma (UPPL), Sabda Rabha (Congress), and independent candidate Naba Sarania.