People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXXI

No. 48

December 02, 2007

Ensure Safety And Security Of People

Left MPs Delegation To Assam Govt

 

The following is the text of the statement issued by the delegation of Left MPs after visiting Guwahati on November 27 to take stock of the situation following violence when All Adivasi Students' Association of Assam (AASAA) took out a rally on November 24.

 

The delegation comprised of Lok Sabha members Rupchand Murmu of the CPI(M) and Joakim Baxia of the RSP.

 

WE reached Guwahati on November 27 to have an understanding of the situation arising out of the rally and procession organised by the All Adivasi Studentsí Association of Assam (AASAA) on November 24 last at Beltola area in the city. Immediately after reaching Guwahati, we visited Guwahati Medical College Hospital (GMCH) to inquire about the conditions of the injured persons who were the victims of large-scale violence and group clashes between the Adivasi processionists and local residents of Beltola area. We were accompanied by the CPI(M) state secretary and MLA Uddhab Barman, CPI(M) leader and MLA Ananta Deka, RSP leader Ratneswar Gogo and other leaders of both the parties. We also visited the Mahendra Mohan Chaudhury Hospital (MMCH) at Panbazar.

 

We were terribly shocked at and horrified by the reports which appeared prominently in national dailies and TV channels on the November 24 violence.

 

The AASAA organised the rally and procession for demanding Scheduled Tribe status to the adivasis domiciled in Assam. This is a legitimate demand and we strongly support their just and long-standing demand. In fact, the CPI(M), RSP and all major political parties of the state have been demanding Scheduled Tribe status to the six backward communities of Assam, namely, the Adivasis, Koch-Rajbanshis, Tai-Ahoms, Morans, Mataks and Chutias.

 

However, the AASAA procession went out of control on November 24. What was supposed to be a peaceful rally turned into a bloody battleground between processionists and the public of the locality just a few hundred meters away from the Dispur capital complex.

 

When a procession of the AASAA started proceeding towards Dispur from Beltola, a small group of people among the processionists started creating law and order problem as they started damaging shops and vehicles and pelting stones at private residences. Surprisingly, there was no police personnel in the area to control the unruly youth in the procession. Late arrival of the police complicated the situation further. Police caned the protesters, burst teargas shells and chased the adivasis. When the rallyists ran for cover, the local residents. enraged by vandalism, retaliated and attacked the adivasis. A section of the local people launched a violent attack and those in the rear of the procession had to face the brunt. At this stage police was also seen mercilessly attacking the adivasis. Nearly 300 processionists were injured in the mayhem, some of them seriously. There are also allegations, that some miscreants outraged the modesty of women. A teen-aged adivasi girl was stripped, beaten-up and chased away. Another woman was allegedly gang-raped. It is heartening to note, a good number of local people, braving mob-fury, came forward to rescue and protect the adivasi victims during the mayhem. Voices of sanity were also heard from the brave and kind-hearted people amidst acts of brutality and savagery.

 

Acts of violence cannot be condoned. We condemn the vandalism and provocation started by a section of the adivasi protesters as well as the brutal retaliation of the local residents.

 

The Congress-led Tarun Gogoi government has been primarily responsible for this incident of large-scale violence and ethnic tension. It appears to be a total administrative failure and collapse of law and order situation. Police inaction has led to this lawlessness and mayhem. Had there been any timely intervention by the law enforcing machinery, the protesters could have been prevented from taking out the procession and the mayhem could have been averted easily.

 

All culprits responsible for the violence and counter-violence must be traced and brought to book. Disciplinary proceedings should also be started immediately against all those responsible for police inaction and administrative failures. Furthermore, we demand that a judicial-probe headed by a sitting High Court judge be ordered. Adequate compensations to the victims and proper medical treatment to the injured must be ensured.

 

Peace and amity among all actions of the people should be the primary concern for all. We appeal the people of multi-ethnic, multi-national and multi-lingual state of Assam to maintain and strengthen Peace and unity at any cost.

 

The Assam government must ensure safety and security to the people and maintain peace and harmony in the state. Strong administrative measures must also be taken to prevent the spread of violence. The legitimate demands of the six backward communities, including the adivasis, for granting of ST status should be fulfilled by the central government.

 

We, the two Lok-Sabha members, along with the CPI(M) MLAs Uddhab Barman and Ananta Deka and RSP leader Ratneswar Gogoi, also met the chief minister Tarun Gogoi at his official chamber at Dispur yesterday evening. While expressing our shock and consternation at the appalling state of affairs, we urged upon him to take up the issue seriously with the central government and press for fulfilling the demands for granting ST status to the six communities. We also urged upon him to prevent further spread of violence in the state and to ensure peace and normality.