GUWAHATI: Normal life in the four districts of Bodoland Territorial Areas Districts came to a grinding halt on Thursday during a 12-hour Assam bandh. It, however, had no effect in rest of the state.
The bandh was called by the Ranjan Daimary faction of rebel group-in-peace mode National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) protesting the pronouncement of life imprisonment to ten of its members, including Daimary, by a special court on Wednesday in connection with the October 30, 2008 serial bomb blasts case in the state. Eighty eight people were killed and 540 others injured in the nine blasts in Guwahati, Barpeta Road, Kokrajhar and Bongaigaon.
The NDFB, which was formed in the mid 1980s to secure a separate Bodoland state, is miffed over the apex court’s judgement and described it as “discriminatory”. The charge stemmed from the fact that leaders of other rebel groups, particularly United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), were let off for the sake of peace process despite their role in similar incidents of bomb blasts and killings of the innocent.
Dozens of NDFB members shouted slogans such as “Long live NDFB”, “Divide Assam 50-50” etc on Wednesday while the convicts were being whisked away from the court complex.
The Peoples Joint Action Committee for Bodoland, which is a conglomerate of several Bodo organisations, is not happy over the judgement and termed it as “biased” and “partial”.
Its deputy convener Gorjon Mushahary said life term to Daimary and others could derail the NDFB’s ongoing peace process with the Central government.
Daimary’s sister and social activist Anjali Daimary said, “We did not have any expectation from the court. We knew we are not going to get anything in Assam. Conviction and peace process cannot go together. We will keep fighting for justice”.
Daimary was arrested in Bangladesh in 2010 and handed over to Indian authorities. In 2013, he managed to walk out on bail after the CBI had not opposed his conditional bail as by that time his group was taking part in peace talks with the Central government.