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‘Will hamper peace talks’: Bodo outfits on NDFB chief Ranjan Daimary’s life sentence for 2008 Assam blasts

Daimary, who is said to have masterminded the strike from Bangladesh, was handed over to India in 2010. He has been involved in talks with the Government of India since 2013 after he was granted bail.

india Updated: Jan 31, 2019 09:58 IST
Sadiq Naqvi
Sadiq Naqvi
Hindustan Times, Guwahati
Ranjan daimary,NDFB,National Democratic Front of Bodoland
Ranjan Daimary being taken to prison after the special CBI court sentenced him to life imprisonment for the 2008 Assam serial blasts case(HT Photo)

The life sentence handed to the founder and chief of National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) Ranjan Daimary is likely to hamper the peace talks of the outfit with the Centre, NDFB and other Bodo organisations have said.

Ranjan Daimary was sentenced to life imprisonment by a special CBI fast track court in Guwahati for the 2008 Assam serial blasts. One of the worst terror strikes in the country which happened barely a month before the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, the Assam serial blasts on October 30, 2008, in Guwahati, Barpeta, Bongaigaon and Kokrajhar had left 88 persons dead and another 470 injured.

Daimary leads one of the two factions of NDFB that are currently in talks with the Government of India. Apart from Daimary, the court had convicted 13 others. Seven others named in the three CBI chargesheets remain absconding while two of them are believed to be dead.

The CBI was handed over the case in December 2008 after a Special Investigations Team of the Assam Police had successfully cracked the role of NDFB militants in the incident.

Daimary, who is said to have masterminded the strike from Bangladesh, was handed over to India in 2010. He has been involved in talks with the Government of India since 2013 after he was granted bail.

“We have an apprehension that the verdict could derail the peace process and we request the government that they should not allow that to happen,” said Anjali Daimary, a rights activist and sister of Ranjan Daimary amid slogans of ‘We want Bodoland’ by supporters of NDFB outside the court.

According to Anjali Daimary, Ranjan, after the sentencing said, “As I remain in jail, I hope a separate Bodoland is formed.”

“Now that our leader is behind bars the peace process could be derailed. He was called by the government for peace talks,” said Okhahadwi, publicity secretary of the NDFB. “The talks were in a critical stage,” he said. Soon after the sentencing, NDFB announced a 12-hour shutdown in Assam on Thursday.

Promod Bodo, the president of the All Bodo Students Union said, “the government should prioritise peace process rather than the legal process.”

Handing out the sentence on Wednesday, A Chakravarty, the special CBI court judge ordered that four of the 14 convicts be released since they have completed their five-year-jail term.

Daimary was not allowed to talk to the media as he was taken to Guwahati Central Jail after the sentencing. On Monday, after he was convicted, Daimary had said he would approach the High Court.

TD Goswami, the special public prosecutor engaged by the CBI said “he welcomed the verdict”. Manas Sarania, who appeared for Daimary and several others, claimed that the evidence was merely hearsay and that he will move the high court on behalf of his clients.

The CBI had demanded death sentence for Daimary and other convicts. The judge while agreeing that the case came under the rarest of the rare category, lambasted the CBI and the state government and said they have violated the fundamental rights of the convicts for a speedy trial.

“It is a shame that the state could not establish a special court immediately after the bomb blast incident. Further, it is disgusting that the CBI and the Government of Assam could not appoint a public prosecutor.”

The case was transferred to this special fast track court only in December 2017.

First Published: Jan 31, 2019 09:54 IST