Tuesday’s 12-hour shutdown by 31 organisations, including All Assam Minority Students’ Union (Aamsu), was against the killing of migrant Muslims in western Assam’s Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC). It ended up as a random assault on another minority group of the linguistic kind – Bengali Hindus – leaving one person dead, one missing and more than 80 injured.
The violence was across districts hitherto untouched by the riots in BTC that have claimed 89 lives since July 20. While Nagaon, Barpeta, Sivasagar, Sonitpur and Lakhimpur districts burnt, the BTC areas were surprisingly calm after grenade-lobbing miscreants killed one person and injured six others in Kokrajhar on Monday night.
The fire ironically singed communities not connected with the Bodoland violence around the time a visibly stressed CM Tarun Gogoi appealed for calm. “Assam has been passing through a difficult period. At this hour of crisis, we need the support of all to bring back normalcy,” he said. Gogoi also ordered seizure of all illegal arms and ammunition from ‘identified miscreants’ in Kokrajhar and Chirang, pointing to the involvement of Bodo tribal militant groups.
Inspector general (law and order) LR Bishnoi said bandh-related violence forced imposition of curfew in trouble-prone districts. “Bandh supporters went on the rampage, killing one person in Barpeta. Police resorted to cane-charge in 17 places while rubber bullets and tear gas shells were fired in eight places.”
The day witnessed Aamsu activists blocking three arterial national highways, seeking dissolution of the tribal council and President’s Rule in Assam.