Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi vacillates as fresh violence strikes fear among refugees in relief camps
WHILE REFUGEES AT RELIEF CAMPS SHOW NO INCLINATION TO RETURN TO THEIR HOMES, BODOS HAVE DEMANDED THAT CREDENTIALS OFTHE INMATES BE VERIFIED.
ethnic clashes. It wants rehabilitation to proceed in a phased manner. Khampa Borgoyari, the BTC deputy chief, says the council has passed a resolution that those who have land in the BTAD area should be rehabilitated immediately in the first phase and those who do not have land but whose names appear in the voters’ lists should remain in the relief camps till BTC and the state government arrive at an agreement on their fate. He claims “illegal immigrants” could take advantage of the situation and infiltrate BTAD areas. “Kokrajhar district’s population, as per the 2011 Census, was around 1.03 million, of which 0.23 million were Muslims. Now more than 450,000 people are staying in the relief camps in Kokrajhar and Dhubri districts. Less than 50 per cent of the Muslim population in Kokrajhar was affected by the clashes, it’s hard to believe that Muslim population increased so sharply in a year,” he says.
Gogoi too admits that there could be people from outside the affected areas in relief camps. “We have told the BTC leadership that there is no space for any illegal migrants in the BTAD areas. Only bonafide land owners will live in BTAD. We have records with us and we will go only by that,” he said.
The Chief Minister claims that the number of relief camps has shrunk to 242 from 278 and about 116,000 inmates have returned home. But there are still 350,960 people in the remaining camps. Worse, people who had left the camps to return to their native villages are now turning back to the camps in droves following fresh violence in Kokrajhar and Chirang.
( LEFT) ACHILD ATARELIEF CAMP IN BHOTGAON ON JULY 25; BODOS ATA
CAMP IN KOKRAJHAR ON JULY 28