Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Assam violence: Bengal tribals call shutdown, BJP wants NIA probe

Siliguri/Kolkata, Dec 25 (IANS) Over 300 tribals from Assam have fled to West Bengal for shelter in the aftermath of the ghastly militant attacks, even as two tribal outfits Thursday called a shutdown in north Bengal Dec 27 while a BJP MP demanded an NIA probe into the mayhem.

West Bengal Adivasi Vikas Parishad (WBAVP) and All India Adivasi Vikas Parishad (AIAVP) leaders said over 300 tribals have taken shelter in north Bengal and urged the state authorities to make arrangements for their security, winter clothes and relief.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee confirmed the influx of the victims from Assam and said her government would house them.

“Many adivasi (tribal) families have started coming to our state for shelter. We have made necessary arrangements to help them and we will continue to do so,” Banerjee wrote on her official Facebook page.

“Strongly” condemning the “heinous” and “brutal” mass killing of tribals, the chief minister said she was deeply saddened and appealed for peace.

The WBAVP and AIAVP gave separate calls for the 12-hour shutdown in the Terai (Siliguri sub-division of Darjeeling district and Rajganj block of Jalpaiguri district) and Dooars (rest of Jalpaiguri district and entire Alipurduar district) against the acemass killing of innocent tribals”.

WBAVP president John Barla said school and college examination and emergency services have been kept outside the purview of the shutdown.

AIAVP’s West Bengal unit chief Birsa Tirkey said apart from the shutdown, his organisation would stage demonstration and submit a memorandum to officials.

The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and some other outfits have extended support to the shutdown call.

Meanwhile, Darjeeling Lok Sabha member S.S. Ahluwalia of the Bharatiya Janata Party alleged that the West Bengal and Assam Police were working in tandem to bring to the dock his party’s alliance partner Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM) in connection with the Assam violence.

“This is the reason the GJM is being harassed in the name of police operation in the north Bengal hills. If police have definite information they should go for arrests. But if only one or two GJM members are found to have links with the incident that doesn’t prove the involvement of the entire party,” said Ahluwalia.

“To establish the truth, there is need for a National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe. I have spoken to (union home minister) Rajnath Singh in this regard. He has asked me to send him an inner party report on the situation.”

GJM chief Bimal Gurung has already threatened to call a shutdown in the northern Bengal hills if the police harassment of his workers and leaders was not stopped.

However, Darjeeling district police officers have been maintaining that they have received lot of information on the Assam incidents which prove its link with some people in the hills.

The toll in the violence unleashed by Bodo militants rose to 73 Thursday. Rajnath Singh and two other union ministers are in Assam to review the law and order situation.

The Tuesday violence has been blamed on a hardline faction of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB).

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