Lafiqul Islam killing: Assam's BJP-led govt under pressure to nab culprits to maintain communal harmony

In order to prevent escalation of the situation that erupted after the assassination of All Bodo Minorities Students Union president Lafiqul Islam Ahmed into communal riots akin to 2012 and 2014, the BJP-led state government must bring the perpetrators to book at the earliest.

Lafiqul Islam. Image courtesy Twitter

Lafiqul Islam. Image courtesy Twitter

Islam’s murder on Tuesday is the first incident of a minority leader of importance being killed in Assam after the BJP-led government took charge of the state one and half year back. Though no incident of communal violence has been reported till now after the assassination, yet tension prevails in various parts of Assam.

Nothing is known about the motive or the persons behind the killing till now. The murder is seen as one incident that can put the state government under serious pressure for four particular reasons.

Firstly, Islam who was seen voicing the causes of the minority population dwelling in the conflict ridden Bodoland Territorial Council area in Assam was a young and powerful leader among the Bengali-speaking Muslims. His assassination may be seen as an attempt to suppress the voice of the religious minorities, which would cause further insecurity among the Muslims in the BTC area.

Islam's popularity can be gauged from the presence of thousands of people in the graveyard in his native village Salakati in Kokrajhar where his burial was held on Wednesday.

Secondly, the religious minorities in the Bodoland area, who are mostly Bengali-speaking Muslims, have a history of rift with the Bodos. Two gruesome riots took place in the region between the two communities in the year 2012 and 2014 leaving more than hundred dead and more than five lakh homeless.

One of the main reasons behind the rift, as often stated by various political and non-political groups is the encroachment of tribal belts and blocks by alleged Bangladeshis. On the other hand, the Bengali-speaking Muslims claim that they migrated to the state far before Independence.

Thirdly, in the earlier incidents of riot, the involvement of a Bodo People’s Front leader came to light. The party is a partner in the BJP-led alliance government as it was with the Congress when the last two riots happened.

Pradeep Brahma, MLA of the BPF was arrested for instigating riots in 2012. A few ABMSU leaders were also arrested on the same ground. After the killing of Islam, the fear is that it might revive old wounds.

Fourthly, since any flare up of this situation could be seen as a discredit to the ruling dispensation, there may be attempts behind the scene to instigate violence.

Tarun Gogoi, former chief minister of Assam and Congress leader termed it a political murder although nothing is publicly known about the motive behind this violent act.

"The Assam government completely failed to assess the threat perception to the young man who was involved with many social activities. They provided him with one personal security officer which was grossly inadequate. This killing is purely political in nature," he said to media persons in Guwahati.

No wonder that despite the Assam government’s desperate attempt to nab the culprits, the effort has hardly struck any chord with the Muslims with many minority organisations organised protests across the state on Wednesday." target="_blank">Firstpost reported that Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal directed state director general of police Mukesh Sahay to immediately visit the communally sensitive area and ensure that law and order is maintained.

Updated Date: Aug 02, 2017 21:11 PM

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