A team of Trinamool Congress (TMC) leaders has reached Assam to meet the families of those massacred by suspected terrorists in Tinsukia. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed anguish over the killings and said an “environment of violence” was prevailing in the country.
TMC chief Mamata Banerjee has sent a team of party leaders, including Derek O’ Brien, Mamata Bala Thakur, Nadimul Haq and Mahua Moitra to Tinsukia to express solidarity with aggrieved families.
Five members of the Bengali community, including two of a family, were allegedly killed by the United Liberation Front of Assam’s Paresh Baruah faction (ULFA-I) on the banks of the Lohit river. The terrorists were in battle fatigues and had randomly picked five people at gunpoint from Kherbari Bisonibari area.
The outfit, however, has denied its involvement in the incident.
The TMC has demanded demanded Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal resignation for failing to ensure safety of the citizens and asked for a court-monitored inquiry into the killings.
A TMC delegation of six lawmakers had gone to Silchar on August 2 to assess the situation in Assam in the wake of the publication of the complete draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) on July 30 but was stopped at the airport and sent back the next day.
Assam police sources say that the TMC delegation will be allowed to meet the families under heavy security presence.
The police are also searching for the suspected terrorists in and around the district’s Sadiya area. Although the police are yet to identify the culprits, they have arrested two senior leaders of the ULFA’s pro-talk faction — Mrinal Hazarika and Jiten Dutta — in connection with allegedly provocative comments made against the state’s Bengali community last month.
Several political parties took to the streets to protest the killings. A 12-hour shutdown was observed for two days after the killings. Protestors camped on railway tracks, threw stones at vehicles and burnt tyres on roads in some districts in Assam during the state-wide bandh on Saturday. Some of them tried to stop people from entering their offices.
In Brahmaputra Valley, demonstrators shouted slogans and tried to disrupt the movement of Brahmaputra Express and Guwahati-Silchar passenger trains.
In Kolkata, the state Congress observed a ‘black day’ to denounce the killings “caused due to the divisive policies of the Assam BJP government” and demand a proper inquiry into the incident. “Both the Assam government and the central government should take steps to ensure the safety and security of Bengalis living in Assam,” state Congress president Somen Mitra said.