GUWAHATI: AS tension prevailed in this communally sensitive region of Assam, the government of Sarbananda Sonowal set up a special investigation team (SIT) to probe the killing of Muslim student leader Lafiqul Islam Ahmed.
The All BTC Minority Students’ Union (ABMSU) demanded a CBI inquiry and immediate removal of the Kokrajhar superintendent of police over the killing and the Congress has also called for a probe by the premier investigation agency.
Ahmed was gunned down by two motorcycle-borne assailants at a market in Kokrajhar on Tuesday.
The SIT will be headed by DSP (headquarters) Prakash Medhi. Assam’s director-general of police Mukesh Sahay reviewed the situation along with Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) chief Hagrama Mohilary and senior officials of the administration.
Additional security forces have been deployed to prevent untoward incidents. One person, identified as Imtiaz Ali, has been arrested in connection with the killing, the DGP said.
The killing triggered widespread protests in the district and in lower Assam. Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal held a high-level meeting with the civil and police administration late Tuesday night and asked authorities to nab the culprits within 24 hours.
Assam’s director-general of police Mukesh Sahay said police are also probing the angle of cattle smuggling behind the killing of Lafikul Islam Ahmed, president of the All Bodo Minority Students Union (ABMSU) on the outskirts of Kokrajhar on Tuesday night.
“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 militants were involved,” he said. Smuggling of cattle to Bangladesh thrives in Kokrajhar and Dhubri districts in lower Assam. Cows are transported from various parts of the country and smuggled into Bangladesh. There are allegations galore that some politicians as well as militants facilitate smuggling.
Beef is in high demand in Bangladesh, and an Indian cow smuggled across the border is said to fetch double the price.
The All Bodo Minority Students Union (ABMSU) said a political conspiracy was hatched to kill Lafikul Islam. It demanded a CBI probe into the slaying.
Speaking to New Indian Express, ABSU president Pramod Boro said, “We suspect that groups of cow smugglers operating between West Bengal, Assam and Bangladesh are behind the killing of Lafiqul Islam. However, his murder has not and will not lead to any ethnic tensions between communities in the Bodo Territorial Administrative Districts (BTAD).”
Lafiqul Islam was murdered the day he sent a video exposing cattle smuggling through the porous Indo-Bangladesh border at the Bengal-Assam-Bangladesh tri-junction on Tuesday.
ABMSU general secretary Shakamal Khandakar said he smells a conspiracy. Kokrajhar has been a hair-trigger region ever since massive ethnic violence erupted between Muslims and Bodos after two former militants were killed by a Muslim mob in western Assam in 2012. The region again witnessed massive violence between Adivasis and Bodos in 2014.