Assam: BTAD Massacre Victims and Survivors’ Fast unto Death

Bhangarpar Bazar (Assam/Press Note): The inmates of 73 tents of Khagrabari relief camp were on fast-unto-death since morning 21st of June, 2014 demanding certain actions from government authorities. More than three hundred victims and survivors of gruesome Khagrabari Massacre, which killed at least 50 people including 21 children in broad day light in Khagrabari village of Baksa district of Assam on May 2nd, 2014.

The village was under attacked soon after the general election. It was alleged that the massacre was carried out as the Bengali speaking Muslims didn’t vote in favour of the ruling party of Bololand Territorial Council and Congress led state government’s ally Bodoland Peoples Party.  Bodo_attacks

On May 2nd, 2014, the men-folk went to market on the other bank of river Beki to sell their produce and purchase the essential commodity. The women, children and elderly were left in the village. At around 4 pm a group of 30-35 people including government appointed forest gourds, well equipped with automated fire arms attacked the innocent villagers.

The eye witnesses recognised the perpetrators by name and identified many of those as forest guards of the Manas National Park, a world heritage site. It is worthy to mention that few of those forest gourds used to visit their houses often. The villagers found the identity cards and bullets of .303 rifle used by government forest guards.

Investigating agencies arrested few of those perpetrators and many of them got political asylum from the government and remain free. On 19th June, 2014, ten accused of that gruesome killing were granted bail by High Court of Guwahati, which put tremendous threat on the lives of the witnesses and victims living in the relief camp at Khagrabari. The victims believe that the poor case diary submitted by investing agency and mysterious silence of public prosecutor in courtroom resulted the bail to the accused of horrendous crime.

The Relief Camp Management Committee called for fast-unto-death demanding immediate action to cancel the bail, arrest of remaining perpetrators including the master mind Amiyo Kumar Brahma, the Ranger of Bashbari Forest Range Office.

The Relief Camp Management Committee also demanded immediate restoration of supply of food and other essential commodities to the camp, which was stopped by the civil administration since last week.

The security in the relief camp is also awful. The inmates who lost their family members and going through extreme level of trauma and mental distress are forced by the security personnel to do night patrolling along with them. Even 60 years old man was not spared.

The other issues in the camp like lack of lighting system, proper health facilities, cooking arrangement and continuous rain water inside the tent have agitated the people to take such extreme form of protest.

The fast-unto-death has been called off at 9 pm yesterday (22/06/2014) after assurance from the authorities of arresting the master mind Amiya Kumar Brahma within two days. The victims warned the authorities that if their demands are not fulfilled within next two days, they will again go for fast from Wednesday (25/06/2014).

BTAD Massacre Victims and Survivors on Fast unto Death

In the mean time it reported that the Home Secretary of Assam has directed the Assam Police to immediately move to Guwahati High Court for the cancellation of bails granted to the accused in the Khagrabari Massacre and the ration to the relief camp has been regularised.

A video of the fast can be viewed here.