GUWAHATI: Amid reports that Lafikul Islam Ahmed, the slain president of All Bodo Minority Students’ Union (ABMSU), was targeted by people benefiting from cattle smuggling, student body ABMSU, on Wednesday, claimed that Ahmed was a victim of a political conspiracy.
Ahmed was shot dead from a point-blank range on Tuesday evening when he had gone to buy tiles from a shop in Titaguri market on the outskirts of Kokrajhar, which is the seat of power in Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC).
The police have detained two persons in connection with the incident. The state’s chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal had given 24 hours’ time to the police to nab the perpetrators of the crime.
Former ABMSU chief, Sahabuddin, told the New Indian Express, “There is no truth in the reports that he was killed by cattle smugglers. Bodoland witnessed killings of several leaders, including that of Adivasis (tea tribe), in the past. Ahmed was vocal on various issues confronting people and that was the reason behind his killing.”
The smuggling of cattle into Bangladesh thrives in lower Assam’s Kokrajhar and Dhubri districts. The cows are transported from various parts of the country and smuggled into Bangladesh by letting them loose on the Brahmaputra. Allegations galore, a section of the politicians, as well as the militants, facilitate the smuggling. A cow, smuggled into the neighbouring country where beef is high in demand, could fetch double the Indian price.
Sahabuddin also said, “We are demanding a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the killing. Bodoland Territory Council chief Hagrama Mohilary and Assam’s director general of police, Mukesh Sahay, have assured that they would take up the demand with chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal. We demand the arrest of the assailants within 24 hours or else, we will hit the streets.”
Another ABMSU leader Shakamal claimed that Ahmed was fired 12 times on the chest, back, neck and arms. The ABMSU has demanded compensation of Rs 50 lakh for the next of kin of the deceased, jobs to two of his family members and the transfer of the Kokrajhar district police chief.
Meanwhile, DGP Mukesh Sahay, who was rushed to Kokrajhar by Sonowal on Wednesday, said the police were also probing the angle of cattle smuggling. “There are various leads which we are examining. Two suspects - Entaj Ali and one Barman - have been picked up and subjected to interrogation. We are also probing if the militants were involved,” he said adding the situation was under control.
Condemning Ahmed’s killing, Assam governor Banwarilal Purohit said, “Such a barbaric killing can’t be tolerated in a civilized society as the state authority would do everything to bring the perpetrator to justice”.