Karbi Anglong Demands Peace
After the horrific violence sponsored by the Congress Government of Assam, the Gogoi Government tried to concoct a tale about the ‘red army’ of CPI(ML) being responsible for the killings. Meanwhile, over 50,000 people rendered homeless by the riots remain in relief camps, awaiting restoration of peace and security. Gogoi’s claims have been rubbished by the investigations of fact-finding teams. A 9-Party team which visited the affected spots in late October, observed: “The State govt. is solely responsible for escalation of violence to the present magnitude”. It also accused the Govt. of having “failed to perform its constitutional responsibilities”.
The team of MLAs, headed by Assam Assembly speaker Prithvi Majhi categorically dismissed the story of ‘red army’ and ‘black widows’ concocted by the Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and Minister Hemant Biswa Sarma. It squarely blamed it on the DHD and the UPDS for the bloodshed. “The DHD’s designated camp at Dhansari was the crux of the whole problem”, a member of the team noted. (The Sentinel, 25-10-05)
Newspapers also reported, “Raj Bhavan sources said the involvement of G. C. Langthasa, Minister holding the portfolio of Hill areas, mines and minerals, animal husbandry and veterinary and PWD (Hills), in the carnage”, was explicitly mentioned in the report (sent to Delhi by Assam Governor). Sources also said Langthasa is “under suspicion” for visiting Dima Halam Daoga (DHD) camps in Karbi Anglong “just before the violence escalated”. “Official sources said the Governor’s report, sent to President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil a couple of days ago, has clearly pointed at Dispur’s lack of administrative will in handling the ethnic violence between Karbis and Dimasas.” (The Telegraph, Oct. 25, 2005)
From 25-27 October, the CPI(ML) observed a 50-hour hunger strike at Parliament Street in New Delhi, demanding an immediate intervention by the President to resolve the crisis in Karbi-Anglong and enquire into the conspiratorial role of the Congress Govt. in harbouring this ethnic strife, as well as sacking of the guilty Minister GC Langthasa and resignation of the Tarun Gogoi Government. The hunger strike was led by Polit Bureau Member Akhilendra Pratap Singh, Central Committee member and Secretary of the Delhi State Committee, Rajendra Pratholi and Delhi State Committee members VKS Gautam, Surendra Panchal and Ardhendu Roy.
Following the hunger strike, a central team led by Comrade Ahkilendra and comprising CCMs Partha Ghosh and Rubul Sarma, former MP from Karbi Anglong Jayanta Rongpi and AICCTU leader Subhas Sen visited affected areas and relief camps of Karbi Anglong on 29th Oct. The team donated a draft of Rs. 1,00,000/ to the relief fund of Karbi Anglong. After returning to Guwahati the team visited the Governor of Assam on 30th Oct. at Rajbhawan and submitted a memorandum. The memorandum asked the Governor to recommend to the President of India to initiate immediate constitutional proceedings against the Congress led government of Assam, including its dismissal under Art.356, and to institute a high level judicial commission to probe the carnage. The memorandum demanded immediate disarming of the militant groups UPDS and DHD, which have never been part of the mass movements in Karbi Anglong and NC Hills for statehood and other issues of development and livelihood. It demanded that the ground rule of the ceasefire agreement must be amended to allow only one designated camp for the each of the militant organisations who are under ceasefire agreements. Such camps should not be located in sensitive and mixed populated areas. On this basis the designated camp of DHD at Dhansiri in Karbi Anglong should be shifted to NC Hills.
The memo pointed out that while people are dying in the relief camp due to criminal negligence of the state government, till date no ex-gratia financial assistance has been paid to anyone. It demanded (i) Ex-gratia payment of Rs. 5,00,000 to the families of every victim who are killed in the carnage and also for those who have died in the relief camps; (ii) Free and comprehensive medical care for all the injured persons and people taking shelter in relief camps; (iii) Immediate assistance of Rs. 1,00,000 to rebuild destroyed and damaged dwellings; (iv)Free provision of all essential commodities and ration for at least for 6 months or till Rabi crop is harvested, as well as a supply of baby foods and nutrients for infants and pregnant women; (v) Ensuring normal academic life for the student in the district, and special arrangement for temporary schooling so that the displaced students do not lose current academic year.
The memo also asked the Governor to request the President of India to ask central government for special package for a comprehensive relief and rehabilitation.
Meanwhile, several initiatives have been taken to mobilize the people of the State to stand in solidarity with the people of Karbi Anglong. A Citizens’ Meeting at Guwahati was held at the joint call of Sadou Asom Janasanskritik Parishad and Karbi Cultural Society at Guwahati Press Club on 30th Oct. The meeting condemned the dubious role played by the Tarun Gogoi Government and called upon the people of the state to stand by the people of the hill districts and to expose the conspiracy of the Government. The meeting decided to organize a cultural troop to collect relief fund and materials for the affected people Karbi Anglong. The meeting was presided over by Loknath Goswami and addressed by prominent artist Dilip Sarma, writer Nitya Borah, writer Paramanamda Mazumdar, Dr. Jayanta Rongpi, AICCTU leader Subhas Sen and AIPWA leader Junu Borah. Chandrakanta Terang and Chandra Singh Kro addressed on behalf of Karbi Cultural Society.
Following from this meeting, a cultural troop (Silpi Bahini) was formed which is holding cultural performances to raise funds. On 10th November many of the renown artists of the city staged a cultural programme at the Expo 2005 dais and raised contribution from the public. Renowned singers Khagen Mahanta, Samar Hazarika, Malabika Borah, Archana Mahanta, Nilima Khatun, Samsong Ingti, Tarali Sarma, Bibhuranjan Choudhury, film actor Biju Phukan and actress Mridula Baruah, artist Dilip Tamuli, TV news reader Bedanta Kr. Sarma and others took part. Loknath Goswami and Chandrakanta Terang, Chandrasingh Kro on behalf of SAJSP and KCS initiated the programme. Progressive singer Dilip Sarma is also an active associate in this cultural troop. The troop collected Rs. 30,952/- in this single programme. The troop will take similar programme in the city and it will go to Karbi Anglong on 19th Nov.
An AIPWA delegation comprising of Kanaklata Dutta, State Secretary, Junu Borah, Mrinili Devi, Geetanjali Sonowal, Kalyani Choudhury, and Gayatri Krisnateya, along with KNCA leaders visited relief camps of Karbi Anglong and met affected people on 28th Oct. They met the DC of Karbi Anglogng and demanded necessary rice, medicine, cloth and sanitation for the people in relief camps. They also demanded early political solution of the problem of the militancy in the hill districts. Prior to that AIPWA organised dharna programme on 27th Oct in different district including state HQ Guwahati. They also sent a memorandum to the Governor of Assam.
The Congress-led Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council’s 193 rd Session witnessed staunch opposition from two CPI(ML)/ASDC(P) Council members when their proposal to present a resolution to be passed by the Council regarding the demand of an immediate relief package of at least Rs. 500 crores from the central government to the violence affected people in Kabri Anglong, and other demands (as cited in the memorandum given to the Union Home Minister by Dr. Jayanta Rongpi) was turned down by the Congress-led majority.
The CPI(ML) members wanted this resolution to be unanimously passed by the Council but it was not even included in the agenda of the Council Session that took place on November 16.
Both the CPI(ML) members opposed this move by the Congress by shouting slogans and went inside the well of the House in protest. On this, Congress-led majority decided to expel the two members which they again protested by sitting on a dharna. This forced the Council to withdraw the expulsion order. The CPI(ML) members again went inside the House and repeated their request to include that resolution in the agenda considering the seriousness of the situation in Karbi Anglong, But again their requests were turned down in a very autocratic manner. The two members again had no option than to raise their voice in protest against this decision of Congress members. They were again expelled and bodily lifted outside of the House.
They sat on a dharna outside the House in protest. The members belonging to the other section of ASDC also ca me in support of this protest.
When the Council Session was in progress, CPI(ML) held a massive rally (count 3000) in front of the Autonomous Council to press for the demands. This was addressed by Dr. Jayanta Rongpi and Assam State Secretary of CPI(ML) Rubul Sarma.