A fact binding committee of the Centre for Policy Analysis, which visited Assam in the aftermath of the May 1 violence that left 45 people dead, has concluded that inflammatory speeches by BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi was one of the factors that contributed to the killings.
Modi, in his speech at Dhemaji in Assam, had said there is a conspiracy to kill rhinos to make space for Bangladeshi settlers.
“The local climate of hatred and a long history of impunity — this was the same village where 50 people were killed in 1994 — was aggravated by the heat of the elections with national leaders stoking the pyres of hatred. Modi’s statement on rhinos being killed to make room for Bangladeshis was one such comment,” said social activist and former IAS officer Harsh Mander, who was a part of the team that went to Narayanguri village in Baksa district.
The report also calls for fair share for the non-Bodo population in the political arrangements to put an end to the circle of violence.
“There is a lot of discrimination. In the Bodo Territorial Council, Bodos, who make up 27 per cent of the population, occupy 70 per cent seats,” said journalist Seema Mustafa. Terming it simplistic to blame violence on administrative failure alone, the committee held that the immediate cause appears to have been the elections, linked to the fielding of non-Bodo candidates.
“Anger was further fuelled by former minister Parmila Rani Brahma who declared openly that the Muslims had not voted for her,” said the report.