MI­NOR­ITY RAP

Chief Min­is­ter sides with the Bo­dos, sees the re­cent vi­o­lence as a con­spir­acy of Mus­lim lead­ers to top­ple him

India Today - - NATION - By Kaushik Deka

As­sam Chief Min­is­ter Tarun Go­goi sees the vi­o­lent clash be­tween Bo­dos and al­leged Bangladeshi im­mi­grants as a con­spir­acy by Mus­lim lead­ers to de­throne him. On Au­gust 11, he mocked per­fume baron and All In­dia United Demo­cratic Front chief, Badrud­din Aj­mal. “Badru bhai has been pray­ing to Al­lah for the last eight years to un­seat me as the Chief Min­is­ter. But Al­lah failed him. I hope this time Al­lah suc­ceeds in top­pling me. I will be at peace,” said Go­goi in Guwahati and laughed at his own joke. He was re­act­ing to Aj­mal’s de­mand for Go­goi’s res­ig­na­tion over his fail­ure to con­trol vi­o­lence in the Bodoland Ter­ri­to­rial Au­ton­o­mous Dis­trict ( BTAD) ar­eas that erupted on July 20 and has claimed 78 lives. Dis­miss­ing Congress Gen­eral Sec­re­tary and ob­server for As­sam Digvi­jaya Singh’s as­ser­tion that there was no dissidence in the As­sam Congress, he even said that a Cab­i­net col­league of his had joined hands with Aj­mal in this ef­fort.

Go­goi also con­tra­dicts the Congress on the in­volve­ment of il­le­gal im­mi­grants in the BTAD vi­o­lence. On July 10, Singh said in Guwahati that the re­cent clash had noth­ing to do with il­le­gal im­mi­grants. A day later, Go­goi said that over 39,000 per­sons iden­ti­fied and con­firmed as in­fil­tra­tors by tri­bunals in As­sam were ab­scond­ing. This ad­mis­sion goes against the tra­di­tional stand of the Congress, which has long con­sid­ered the im­mi­grant pop­u­la­tion as its most se­cure vote bank.

The Chief Min­is­ter has al­ready made it clear which side he is on, dur­ing the clashes be­tween the Bo­dos and the al­leged im­mi­grants. On July 28, when he ac­com­pa­nied Prime Min­is­ter Man­mo­han Singh to Kokra­jhar re­lief camps, the Chief Min­is­ter was seen with a Bodo scarf around his neck. In the last 11 years, Go­goi has rarely worn any scarf, not even the tra­di­tional As­samese gam­chha.

The Chief Min­is­ter even en­dorsed the claim of the Bodo Ter­ri­to­rial Coun­cil ( BTC) lead­er­ship, which runs BTAD, that there could be peo­ple from out­side the af­fected ar­eas in the re­lief camps. “We have told the BTC lead­er­ship that there is no space for any il­le­gal im­mi­grants in BTAD ar­eas. Only bonafide land own­ers will live in BTAD. We have records with us and we will go by those alone,” Go­goi said.

This ad­mis­sion was one of the many U- turns Go­goi has made since vi­o­lence broke out in the BTAD ar­eas. On July 28, the Chief Min­is­ter said: “This is ac­tu­ally a con­flict of in­ter­est over land. There are no Bangladeshis in this, just In­dian cit­i­zens.”

BADRUD­DIN AJ­MAL

TARUN GO­GOI

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