GUWAHATI/ KOLKATA: A day after five Bengali-speaking men were gunned down by suspected militants in Tinsukia, Assam, police in Guwahati arrested Mrinal Hazarika, leader of the pro-talks faction of ULFA, for making “inflammatory” comments recently.
The police suspected the hand of the Paresh Baruah faction of the insurgent group United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA-Independent) in the killings, but the outfit has washed its hands of the incident.
Speaking in protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which the Centre wants to pass to grant citizenship to non-Muslim immigrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who migrated until December 31, 2014, Hazarika had said that if required, the houses of Bengalis should be raided and there should be a massacre.
Ministers Parimal Suklabaidya, Tapan Gogoi and Keshab Mahanta, and the state’s director general of police, Kuladhar Saikia, visited the site of the incident on Friday.
Normal life was thrown out of gear during the 12-hour Tinsukia district bandh on Friday called by a Bengali students’ organisation to protest the killings.
The organisation has called for a statewide bandh on Saturday.
Meanwhile, speaking at a public meeting after leading a protest rally in south Kolkata against the killings, Youth TMC president and TMC heir apparent Abhishek Banerjee said: “There must be an independent probe into the incident not by CBI, whose impartiality is questionable, but by a committee formed by the Supreme Court. We suspect that BJP cadres may be behind the killings. We demand the resignation of Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal,” he said.
State Congress Committee chief Somendra Nath Mitra said the killings were the result of regional discord brought about by Assam’s BJP government.