Justice remains elusive dream for the victims of 2012 BTAD violence even after two years

By TwoCircles.net Staff Reporter,

Guwahati: Two years is a pretty long period for anything to change. But for a section of ill-fated people in Assam, it’s all the same as their pain continues to haunt them, in fact, in a more painful way. The bloody violence which broke out in Assam’s Bodoland Territorial Areas District (BTAD) on July 20 in 2012 witnessed around 100 deaths and several lakhs were displaced but the victims did not get the justice.

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Ainuddin Sheikh is still inconsolable when somebody reminds him of that fateful day. The day when he lost his father Bashir Sheikh exactly two years ago in Assam’s troubled torn BTAD.

AAMSU leaders speak during a protest rally.
AAMSU leaders speak during a protest rally.

“Sometimes I do not feel like living anymore. Time and again we are facing atrocities and there is no justice. There is no value of live for the people like us. I got Rs 50 thousand as compensation but my father is gone forever without his fault. We can only get peace if the culprits are punished,” said a dejected Ainuddin of Heikipara of Kokrajhar district.

The incident was criticized from different parts of the globe. The state government was slammed for its failure to control law and order situation but it remained all the same. The culprits are roaming free whereas the victims are still living shedding tears in the memory of their dear ones.

“The victims of the BTAD riot are deprived of justice even after two years. It’s extremely unfortunate that some people are still shown missing. Thus the killing of the people and the politics of the impunity has been going in BTAD since 1993.The Tarun Gogoi government has no political will to punish the rioters. The rule of law has not prevailed in Assam for a long time. What are the remedies for this,” said Hafiz Ahmed, president of Char Chapori Sahitya Parishad (CCSP), a literary body of the state.

The CBI started to inquire into four cases of Kokrajhar, two cases of Chirang and one of Dhubri district in September, 2012. But the agency has been able to complete only five cases and charge sheet has been submitted, said Ahmed.

He also added that the accused are roaming freely at the sponsorship of government. “As none of the rioters was punished, they did not hesitate to kill innocent people in Balapara, Narsingbari and Khagrabari. It will go on like this in our state,” he added.

Riot affected people from BTAD during their one of the protests in Guwahati recently.
The BTAD violence victims during a protest rally in Guwahati (file photo)

Accordingly, altogether 5,800 cases in Kokrajhar district,100 in Chirang and 50 cases in the various police stations of Dhubri district were registered but most of these remained as it was.

Similarly, Muhammad Sheikh too was killed by the armed miscreants leaving his family in distress forever in Kokrajhar district. His family now appeals to the visiting guest to help them in getting the justice, wish it was that easy especially in Assam.

“We received a house of IAY scheme and a pittance in the name of compensation. But the scar of losing our father will remain forever. We want the violence to come to an end. We want to live peacefully and work to progress like anybody else in the world. But we are deprived of justice. It is painful,” said Abul Sheikh, Muhammad’s eldest son.

This is the way of life of most of the people who are victimised in armed violence in the BTAD area. People are still far from being normal. The fear is still on. There is no certainty when peace will back.

“It’s a serious matter of concern. As per my knowledge, 89 persons including 19 with arms were arrested under Gossaigaon Police Station but in not a sngle case the charge-sheet has been registered till today,” said local advocate and activist Mukhleshur Rahman. “Out of 3085 cases registered under Gossaigaon PS, not a single case has been chargesheeted so far. This is the how investigation is going on here,” added Rahman, who is the defense lawyer in a large number of these cases.

A family affected in violence in BTAD in camps.
A family affected in violence in BTAD in camps

It’s an endless story. Wahidur Rahman, a petty businessman and his family who are from remotest part of Dhubri district’s Gauripur, life is not what it used to be before two years. They are still living Bhodeyaguri relief camp under Gossaigaon sub division of Kokrajhar district.

All Assam Minority Students’ Union (AAMSU) also slammed the state government for failing to provide justice to the victims of the violence. The students’ body came down heavily at the Tarun Gogoi led state government for not giving importance to the issue.

“The ministers are busy with their personal gain and powers. They have never wanted to really solve the problem. We condemn the state government for its negligence towards the victims of BTAD violence,” said AAMSU general secretary Rejaul Sarkar Karim.