Bhangarpar (Assam): “We did not vote for the BPF candidate in Lok Sabha polls, that’s why we were attacked,” alleged 75-year-old Iman Ali.
Bodoland People’s Front, an ally of ruling Congress in Assam, is facing accusations for the Friday bloodbath that left 36 people –mostly women and children– dead with the affected families claiming that the “planned” attack was a reprisal for voting for a non-Bodo candidate.
The victims of Narayanguri in Baksa district, along with the villagers on East of Beki river, refuted government’s claim that the attack was carried out by National Democratic Front of Bodoland’s IK Songbijit faction –NDFB(S)– militants.
The Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), which evolved from the Bodo Liberation Tigers militant outfit, has denied the allegations of involvement in the May 2 carnage that targeted Muslim families.
“The killings took place days after BPF leader Promila Rani Brahma said that Muslims did not vote for BPF. It seems like a planned attack,” claimed Faridul Islam, who is living in a relief camp after the violence.
“It is our democratic right to support anyone we wish. Bodos have always tortured us. Almost every year, they do such kinds of massacre. Why should we vote them?” asked Iman Ali, who lost his wife in the attack.
The Bodo Liberation Tigers militant group had signed a peace accord during the NDA rule and it was later disbanded. The outfit took the form of BPF, which has been in power in the Bodoland Territorial Council.
During Lok Sabha elections, which took place in three phases last month in Assam, BPF fielded state Transport Minister Chandan Brahma from Kokrajhar constituency. Former ULFA militant Hira Saraniya, who was supported by a joint platform of non-Bodos, gave a tough fight to Brahma.
Bodoland Territorial Council chief Hagrama Mohilary has rejected allegations about BPF’s involvement in the carnage. A senior official said 72 families of Bengali speaking Muslim families were staying on West of Beki river, which is adjacent to Manas National Park.
On May 2, armed terrorists indiscriminately fired on villagers around 4 PM in afternoon, when most of males went to the Bhangarpar market on the other side of the river.
Excepte two or three, every family has been affected and have been forced to take shelter in relief camps set up in the dry river-bed here.
“The gunmen were mostly surrendered BLT militants, who have formed BPF now. The forest guards also fired at us when we ran towards their check post for protection,” claimed Johur Ali.
He said that many of the ex-BLT cadres were inducted as forest guards under a government scheme to stop poaching.