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Following minister’s plea, funeral held for 18 Assam violence victims

By EMN Updated: May 05, 2014 12:52 am

Salbari (Assam), May 4

[dropcap]A[/dropcap]fter initial refusal, family of 18 people killed by Bodo militants today buried their dead after the Assam government assured to punish the culprits and provide security to the people living in Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD).
Assam Cooperation and Border Areas Development Minister Siddique Ahmed visited the affected areas in BTAD and met family members of the victims, all of whom belong to minority community.
Ahmed said the government was determined to punish the guilty and would take all steps to protect the lives of the minority community in the state.The minister then appealed to the people to perform the ‘janaza’ (last rites) of the dead.
Accepting his request, the last rites of the 18 persons took place in the afternoon in Baksa district in the presence of the minister.
The government has announced to pay Rs six lakh each to the next of kin of the victims.
A relief camp has been established by Baksa district administration and 498 persons from violent affected areas under Gobardhana police station have taken shelter there. Earlier in the day, people in two affected villages refused to bury those killed until the chief minister assures them justice.
People in Narayanguri and Khagrabari villages, close to the Manas National Park in Baksa district of northern Assam, said they would not bury their dead until Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi personally visits the area and assures them of justice and adequate compensation.
The two villages in Baksa district bore the maximum brunt of the violence.
“We are going to wait till the chief minister personally comes and assures us to protect our lives. We also demand Rs 20 lakh each in compensation to the families of those killed and Rs 10 lakh each to those who received serious injuries during the violence,” said Rahmat Ali, a resident of Khagrabari village in Baksa.
Sources in the Chief Ministers’ Office here said Gogoi is not scheduled to visit the Bodoland Territorial Areas Districts (BTAD).
However, senior cabinet colleague and state agricultural minister Nilamoni Sen Deka has been camping in BTAD to monitor the situation.
Assam Home Commissioner G.D. Tripathy said no fresh incidents of violence have been reported since Saturday evening, and the situation is now under control.
A curfew has been imposed in Kokrajhar, Baksa and Chirang districts of the BTAD since Friday evening and will continue with a few hours’ relaxation.
There are also reports of large-scale migration of people to safer areas. Many people are fleeing to adjoining areas, fearing more violence by the militants.
“We have suffered enough during the 2012 violence. We have lost houses, family, cattle and all that we used to have during the violence two years back. The violence has started again, we have to leave again,” said Aminul Haque, a resident of Teteliguri village, located 30 km from Kokrajhar town.
Haque and fellow villagers witnessed worst ever violence between the Bengali speaking Muslims and Bodos during the 2012 riots.
The villagers of Teteliguri village were living in relief camps since 2012 till March last year, when the administration rehabilitated them back in their villages.
Aminul received Rs.57,000 in two installments as compensation for the 2012 riots.
“Government had assured that we all would be adequately compensated. I have lost my house, belongings, cattle and everything. You tell me whether Rs.57,000 is sufficient to start my life?” he said.

By EMN Updated: May 05, 2014 12:52:15 am