News desk, August 21: On October 29, 2013, the indigenous Koch-Rajbongshi people of Kokrajhar and its neighbouring districts had organized a peaceful rally at Basugaon in Chirang district under the aegis of AKRSU(H) group demanding a separate state of Kamatapur and scheduling of the Koch-Rajbongshi community in the S.T(P) lists of Assam. On that fateful day, the Assam Police swept into the venue and forcefully tried to stop the rally, including forceful arrest of the student leaders, thereby intentionally creating a situation which led to confrontation and clash with the large number of Koch-Rajbongshi people (men, women and children) peacefully gathered at the place, singing traditional songs and discussing their legitimate demands. More than 5 people including a minor boy received gun-shot injuries when Assam Police, without any warning, fired upon the peaceful Koch-Rajbongshi people, with automatic rifles. Not to mention the barbaric physical atrocities committed on the simple and peace loving Koch-Rajbonghsi people, not even sparing children and elderly. The Assam Police acted like street dogs and tore the Patani, the traditional dress worn by the Koch-Rajbongshi women folk.
Even though the Koch-Rajbongshi community so far has been an inclusive community rather than an exclusive one, and therefore feel the pain of the people of Golaghat who had to face similar Police brutalities like the one we faced at Basugaon. Hence we empathize and strongly condemn the atrocities and brutalities committed by the Assam Police on the people of Golaghat, by acting like a colonial force rather than a force for the protection of its people.
But what deeply saddens the Koch-Rajbongshi people is that when similar police atrocities were committed on them at Basugaon on October 29, 2013, the so-called mainstream ‘Asomiya Jatiyatabadi’ organizations like AASU, AJYCP, KMSS, etc, kept entirely mum. There was also not a single word of protest from any Assamese intellectual. Even the mainstream Electronic Media ignored the incident as they were busy telecasting the marriage and reception of crowned Prince Gaurav Gogoi. AASU President Shankar Prasad Ray and AASU Adviser Sammajjul Bhattacharya (who originally happens to be from neighbouring Dhubri district) could make time for Gaurav Gogoi’s marriage and reception but could not make time to visit the injured. The firebrand activist and leader of KMSS, Sri. Akhil Gogoi, who supposedly never leaves an opportunity to jump and voice for the common man, did not make the effort to voice even once for the Koch-Rajbongshi people.
- Why such ‘double standards’ by the torchbearers of ‘Asomiya Jatiyatabad’?
- Don’t you think the atrocities by the Assam Police on the indigenous Koch-Rajbongshi people as Human Rights violation and deserve equal condemnation and protests like the recent incident of firing at Golaghat?
- Or do you consider the voice of the indigenous Koch-Rajbongshi people of Assam as a threat to ‘Asomiya Jatiyatabad’ and therefore justify its suppression?
- Where is, the much talked about composite Assamese federalism? Or is it only a pick and choose, suit when you want policy?
The Koch-Rajbongshi people had been at the fore-front of the Assam Agitation, during the Bhasa (Language) Movement, and the ULFA movement, where they have shed enough blood and sacrificed enough lives in the name of ‘Asomiya Jatiyatabad’. But now the message is loud and clear – “it’s time for the Koch-Rajbongshi people of Assam to chart their own course.”
(Photo: David Roy, CKRSD Media Centre)