Five days after Priya Basumatary, a 16-year-old high school student, was gunned down by NDFB(S) militants in full view of villagers in Chirang district of western Assam, the issue rocked the Budget Session of the Assembly here with the government agreeing to an opposition demand for a discussion on it.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Monday announced the institution of a probe into why the police delayed recovering the girl’s body. While Priya was killed on August 20 afternoon, the police never went to Dwimuguri, the forest village close to the Bhutan border where the murder took place. It were some villagers who recovered her body next day and handed it over to the police at Salbari. Gogoi also denied that Priya was a police informer, and said she was innocent.
Even as question hour began, Bodo People’s Front (BPF) legislator Pramila Rani Brahma raised the issue of the murder, with the entire opposition – AGP, BJP, AIUDF and BPF – members joining her to condemn the incident. They hit out at the Congress government for its alleged failure to protect innocent villagers from the armed militants.
While other members of the opposition parties were all on their feet to demand a discussion on the murder following which the body of the girl lay in the open for two days, Brahma rushed to the well of the House and wanted the Speaker to hold back all other matter and discuss the issue.
Opposition members accused the government of using school students as police informers, and wanted to know why the police failed to recover the girl’s body which was ultimately recovered by villagers to be handed over to police in another village several kilometers from Dwimuguri, where the girl was killed. Speaker Pranab Gogoi assured a discussion as well as a statement from the government, with the latter agreeing to a discussion in the House on Tuesday.
Later, speaking to the media outside the Assembly, Gogoi denied reports that the police had used Basumatary as an informer. “She was an innocent girl who became victim of an inhuman act of the militants,” he said.
Gogoi also appealed to the people, different organisations and student groups to come out in a big way against militant groups. “It was because of the people’s massive and spontaneous condemnation and outcry in the wake of the Dhemaji explosion which had killed 13 innocent school children in 2004 that the ULFA was finally cut to size. I appeal to all organisations of the civil society as well as student groups to come out in a big way against the militants who had murdered Priya Basumatary in such a brutal manner,” Gogoi said.