Gogoi Government Condoning Killings in Karbi Anglong?

Within a fortnight, more than twenty five persons have been killed in Karbi Anglong and an almost equal number injured in separate incidences committed reportedly by armed groups. There seem to be a clear design in choosing mainly Hindi speaking people as target this time. This is not the first time that such mass killing of a targeted community has taken place in the district.

Two successive tenures of Cong(I) Government led by Sri Tarun Gogoi, the present Chief Minister, have witnessed five separate episodes of genocide of singled-out communities. The heap of dead bodies of Karbi and Kuki villagers in 2001, that of Hindi-speaking and Adivasi people in 2002, Dimasa and Hmar people in 2003 and of old men, women and children belonging to Karbi and Dimasa tribes in 2005 are still fresh in the minds of people. More than 500 persons were butchered, one and half lakh people rendered homeless and compelled to flee their villages, properties worth several hundred crores were damaged, and the back bone of already fragile rural tribal economy was destroyed beyond repair during these planned and selective mass killings. Every such carnage is invariably followed by communal tension and clashes, inter-tribal inter-communal rivalry and of course long-lasting socio-economic instability. The hill districts of Assam are being torn apart.

The most serious disservice the Tarun Gogoi Government has done to the nation is that it has not drawn any lesson from any of the above-mentioned incidences. Rather by its unpardonable acts of omission and commission the Gogoi Government has contributed to the present state of affairs in Karbi Anglong. The lack of any serious effort on the part of Government to bring the KLNLF - the organization reportedly claimed by Government to be responsible for last week carnage - to the negotiating table, and the directionless so-called peace talks with UPDS and DHD (the militant organizations who are under cease fire agreement) are two main factors which any Government with a sense of responsibility could have avoided. It is an open secret that ruling parties take the help of militant outfits (both underground as well as those under cease-fire agreement) in the elections. Some such groups are used by the ruling party even to physically eliminate political rivals. The brutal killing of popular CPI(ML) leader Langtuk Phangcho is one such example. The fact that Cong(I) got a record number of votes in polling booths located in areas known to be strongholds of these militant outfits makes the picture very clear: the present dispensation at Diphu and Dispur has developed vested interests in continuing the state of affairs at the cost of lives of innocent citizens.

That is why the Gogoi Government has shied away even from holding a judicial enquiry into any of the massacres. The Justice Phukan Commission constituted in the wake of the Karbi-Dimasa massacre under immense public pressure was soon rendered inactive (it is yet to start any work even after two years of its constitution). The CBI enquiry that was promised by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi in his meeting with NGOs and students’ organizations in 2005 has remained a hollow promise.

This time also CM Tarun Gogoi has visited Karbi Anglong after the massacre of Hindi-speaking people and repeated the same hollow assurances which he has been uttering during the last six years after each and every such incident. Going by past experiences nothing will be done decisively and the situation will remain same until the next massacre claims its toll with, may be, a change in the name of the targeted community and probably a change in the place of occurrence.

Karbi Anglong being administered under the provisions of Sixth Schedule of the constitution, where the Governor has been entrusted with special power and responsibility in regards to such areas, CPI(ML) has urge the Governor and the Home Minister to respond to the following specific demands in the interest of peace in the region:
1. To ensure constitution of a Judicial Commission headed by a sitting High Court Judge to enquire into the mass killings of Karbi Anglong to unearth the real culprits as well as the conspiracy behind.
2. To ensure security of life and property of common people including the Hindi-speaking people of Karbi Anglong.
3. Immediate relief and rehabilitation package for the affected families.
4. Initiative on the part of the Government to bring KLNLF to the discussion table for a lasting political solution.
5. To stop ruling parties from using militants under cease-fire agreements for electoral gain and to make a sincere effort for a successful political solution in the peace talks with such cease fire militant groups.

CPI(ML) along with a joint platform of 12 parties, joined by CPI(M) and SUCI, observed a total 12-hour bandh on August 14 all over the state. The 12-party platform observed a state-wide Protest Day on August 16 with protest programmes like dharnas and processions being held in district HQs across the state. CPI(ML) held protests in Bihar against the genocide of Hindi-speaking labourers, demanding a guarantee of their security in Assam.