The brutal killing of a 16-year old girl student by the Songbijit faction of the outlawed National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) in full public view in Dwimugri village in Chirang district in western Assam yesterday, have sent shock-waves across the state. The girl, identified as Priya Basumatari, was shot after the militant faction accused her of being a police informer at whose alleged information security forces had gunned down five militants a day earlier.
“Villagers told us a group of heavily armed militants dragged the girl out from her house, and then compelled the people to gather at one place where they pronounced her a police informer… they held her responsible for Tuesday’s operation in which five NDFB(S) cadres were killed, and then shot her from point blank range,” Ranjan Bhuyan, Superintendent of Police, Chirang told The Indian Express over the telephone today.
The Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (ACPCR) meanwhile has decided to register a case on the brutal incident. “The Commission has noted with deep anguish media reports about how a 16-year old girl was killed. We are taking up the matter seriously,” said ACPCR chairperson Runumi Gogoi.
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Dwimuguri is a forest village under Runikhata police station close to the international border with Bhutan. A joint operation carried out by the Army and police in forests close to Dwimuguri had on Wednesday led to elimination of five NDFB(S) cadres – they being identified as district commander Raidwong, assistant finance secretary Rajiv Champagayari, B Rojeng alias Roslin Mushahary, Debananda Islary and Pranjal Basumatari. The location is about 200 kms from Guwahati.
“Different militant groups in Assam have in the past also targeted innocent people by accusing them of being police informers. But yesterday’s incident was too brutal. Moreover, there was no question of the police having used the high school girl as an informer,” Chirang SP Bhuyan said. Local reports however said the girl had informed some members of the Ranjan faction of NDFB about the presence of members of their rival faction, leading to Wednesday’s operation.
Expressing shock over the gruesome murder, Romila Islari, advisor of the All Bodo Women’s Welfare Federation (ABWWF) said lives of common people had become totally insecure in Chirang, Baksa and adjoining districts. “It is most inhuman act that militants have committed. That they can gun down a high school student and that too in broad daylight by gathering the villagers itself speaks of how inhuman these militant groups have become,” Islari said.
The All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) on its part said this was another incident to prove the increasing lawlessness and insecurity prevailing in Assam’s four districts that comprise Bodoland Territorial Council. “We have been complaining of growing lawlessness for the past several years. But neither has the state government done anything, nor the Centre,” said ABSU president Pramod Boro.
Boro also said that the student community has been the worst victims. “Over 100 students, most of them ABSU members, have been killed in the past five years. And the perpetrators are not just militant groups. The security forces too have killed man students in the name of eliminating militants,” the ABSU president said.