Bodos cry discrimination

Tribal organisations see bias in treatment meted out to Daimary; citizens decry trend
Guwahati/Kokrajhar, May 6: A group of organisations representing tribal communities today accused the government of trying to create a division between tribals and non-tribals in the state by making a distinction between the arrested founder of the National Democratic Front of Boroland, Ranjan Daimary, and Ulfa leaders.
Bodo organisations also picked up the cudgels, decrying the “big brother” attitude of the Assamese intellectuals on the issue, saying this trend would further alienate the Bodos from the Assamese.
At a news conference, representatives of the Janajati Nagarik Mancha, the United Democratic Peoples’ Front, Guwahati Jyestha Deori Nagarik Sanstha and the Thengal Kachari Nagarik Sanstha expressed concern over the “difference” in treatment meted out to the NDFB founder and Ulfa leaders like Arabinda Rajkhowa by police and civil administration.
This, they felt, could drive a wedge between the tribal communities and the mainstream Assamese society.
The president of the Janajati Nagarik Mancha, Lakhmi Nath Pangging, alleged that the government had adopted a discriminatory attitude towards Daimary despite of the fact that there is little difference between the NDFB and Ulfa, since both are extremist outfits with similar ideologies.
“We are deeply hurt at these developments since it has sent out a message that the government is making a distinction between tribals and non-tribals,” he said.
Pangging said though Rajkhowa’s family members were allowed to meet him when he was produced in court, the same was not the case with Daimary’s sister.
Criticising a section of the media, he said Daimary was made out to be a “demon” for his alleged role in the October 30 blasts whereas it was silent about Rajkhowa’s alleged role in Dhemaji blasts.
They also frowned upon the decision of a lawyers’ association not to take up Daimary’s case.
The All Assam Lawyers’ Association, the state’s apex lawyers’ body, has sent out an appeal asking colleagues not to plead for the alleged mastermind of the October 30 serial bombings.
The organisation said the Sanmilita Jatio Abhibortan — the state-level convention held here on April 25 to facilitate talks between the government and Ulfa — could have also included the NDFB.
The secretary of the steering committee of the Sanmilita Jatio Abhibortan, Dilip Patgiri, however, denied the allegations that they have taken a discriminatory attitude towards NDFB.
In Kokrajhar, however, Bodo organisations were offended.
Promode Boro, the president of the All Bodo Students’ Union, castigated the role played by some intellectuals and the media which he said reflected their “anti-Bodo and anti-Mongoloid” mindset.
“It showed that they are still unable to accept the Bodos and people of Mongoloid race as part of the so-called greater Assamese society,” he added.
“We have nothing to say on the arrest of Ranjan Daimary but he must not be made a monster when other rebel leaders are projected as saviour of the masses,” he added.
The apex Bodo literary organisation, Bodo Sahitya Sabha, has also expressed its displeasure in the way Daimary’s case was interpreted and projected by a section of Assamese intellectuals.
“The way Daimary has been projected is bound to bring further division among the people of the state,” said sabha president Kameswar Brahma.
The All Bodo Post-Graduate Youth Federation and Federation of Bodo Youth said such indifferent attitude was alienating the Bodo people.
“The has proved once again that the mentality of the so-called Assamese intellectuals towards the indigenous people has not changed in all these years,” said B. Brahma of the federation.
The Ex-Bodo Militants Development Committee also appealed to the state government to provide justice to the arrested NDFB leader.