Kokrajhar Muslim massacre: 4 forest officials named in NIA chargesheet; civil society welcomes move


Shamim Zakaria

A chargesheet filed by the National Investigative Agency (NIA) pertaining to the killing of 36 Muslims, including infants and a 3-year-old child in Assam’s Kokrajhar last year has been welcomed by civil society members.

It may be recalled that the anti-talk Songbijt faction of militant outfit National Democratic Font of Bodoland (NDFB-S), armed with AK-47 rifles, had indulged in indiscriminate killings in May last year.

They also torched at least 70 Muslim houses on the banks of the Beki river near Manas National Park. The NIA probing this massacre in its chargesheet today named a total of six persons including four forest officials. The officials include Rojen Boro, Jayanta Boro, Nijwim Basumatary and Mallajit Kherkatary who have been charged under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).

An officer who was part of the investigation earlier informed that forest officials of the Bansbari Forest Range under the Manas Tiger Project (hand in gloves with NDFB(S) rebels) had then fired on the victims from point-blank range using their service weapons, basically meant for guarding the forest.

“This is certainly a commendable move by the NIA. The ones responsible for the gruesome bloodshed should be booked under law,” said Abdul Kalam Azad, general secretary of Jhai foundation, an organization working on emergency and humanitarian assistance including legal and entitlement support for internally displaced persons (IDPs).

Adding further on the entire episode, Azad talked of how his organization has been working relentlessly for the last one year for justice of victims. “There have been numerous massacres in Assam since 1983 and many international NGOs have also worked on these, but ours is the first organization which is working in the grassroots. We have volunteers from all sections irrespective of caste, religion and language who are working for the rehabilitation of the victims and are helping in investigations,” said Azad.

Commemorating the deceased in the horrendous incident, Abdul Kalam Azad’s Jhai Foundation had also published a report titled, ‘One year of Khagrabari Massacre: Quest for Justice Continues’ to mark the first anniversary of the massacre on 2nd May, 2015.