Two ULFA killed; North-east Bandh on December 15

Two suspected United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) militants were killed in an encounter with the army in Dhola in Tinsukia district in upper Assam. According to the Tinsukia police, the encounter took place when the army was conducting a regular combing operation. Dhola had witnessed some of the worst incidents of violence against members of the Bihari community.

In another development the North-east Students Organisation (NESO) comprising major student bodies of the North-east, including the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and the Naga Students Federation (NSF), has claimed that more than 50 girls were molested in Jamalpur during the attack on North-east trains by Bihari mobs. A NESO team, which met the Naga girl currently lodged in a Mumbai hospital after being raped in Jamalpur, said that the Rabri Devi government had tried to brush the whole issue under the carpet. “More than 50 girls were stripped and paraded naked in the Jamalpur station that day,” said NSN Lotha, general secretary, NESO. The organisation has also demanded that members of parliament from Northeast demand 100 per cent job reservation for locals and a detailed investigation into the Jamalpur incident.

“The details given by Rabri Devi government on the Jamalpur incident was only a part of the entire incident,” said Samujjal Bhattacharyya, president, NESO. Bhattacharya is also the adviser to the AASU. Dimapur-based daily “Nagaland Post” has also carried accounts of seven Naga girls who were also targeted in Jamalpur on November 27. The NESO also pooh poohed claims made by the Bihar government that it had offered assistance to the Naga girl. “We spoke with her. No Bihar official came to meet her after she was raped,” said Lotha.

The NESO has given Bihar and the central government 14 days to bring the culprits to book, failing which the organisation will resort to a 72-hour hunger strike, to be followed by a North-east Bandh on December 15. The organisation has also demanded 100 per cent reservation for local candidates in the North-east Frontier Railway (NEFR)

The recent developments have also put the Tarun Gogoi government, with the Assam administration so far denying that Assamese women were targeted in Jamalpur by Bihari mobs. “Fifty girls were molested and stripped that day. After this will Tarun Gogoi say that no such attack occurred on our woman passengers?” asked Amiya Bhuyan, general secretary, AASU.

The NESO has also demanded a separate recruitment board for candidates from the Northeast and demanded that the other states be delinked from NEFR. NEFR, at present, apart from the eight northeastern states also comprise parts of West Bengal and Bihar.

--By Monalisa Gogoi (newsfiledelhi@rediffmail.com)