Date: Sat, Nov 13, 2010 at 8:42 PM
Subject: Christian NDFB kills 22 Hindu bus passengers in Assam (Gruesome photos)
It was meant to look like an act of ethnic cleansing. Police say it shows Bodos' desperation
BY AVALOK LANGER
JK MISHARA stared at the moving horizon as the bus hurtled its way to Sejusa across the border in Arunachal Pradesh. Lost in his own thoughts, he snapped back to reality as the vehicle screeched to a halt. The initial curiosity quickly turned to fear. Herded by armed men, Mishara and six other persons of Bihari origin were lined up and killed after their co-passengers reboarded the bus and drove off. The National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) killed 22 passengers that day.
The sporadic attacks on civilians on 8 November evening and the next morning in and around Sonitpur district of Assam were in line with the warning issued by the NDFB on 1 November via email. "One innocent Bodo will be equal to 20 Indians or maybe more and we don't care who they are, (they) may be Indian civilians or security forces," warned B Jwngkhang, self-styled lieutenant of the outfit. These killings were in response to the supposed fake encounter of Mahesh Basumatary on 8 November, whom the NDFB spokesperson claims is an innocent Bodo civilian.
Known to be one of the most aggressive and brutal underground outfits of the Northeast, the NDFB is the present avatar of the underground outfit championing the cause of Bodo sovereignty.
The Bodos, an ethnic community of Assam, have had a longstanding and deep sense of discrimination and neglect. In the late 1980s, land alienation and cultural suppression pushed the All Bodo Students Union (ABSU) to demand a separate Bodo state within the Indian Union. Subsequently disillusioned by what they read as the state government's lack of commitment to equity and justice for tribals, the Bodos prepared for battle. With the guidance and support of the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN), the early 1990s witnessed a mushrooming of Bodo militant outfits. Having been previously exposed to elementary guerrilla tactics at the Special Security Bureau training camps set up in the wake of the Indo-China war of 1962 using the Burmese jungles, the Bodos easily slipped into the familiar pattern of extortion, kidnapping and killing. Despite the creation of the Bodo Autonomous Council (BAC) and the surrender of the Bodo Volunteer Force (BVF), the NDFB remained at large.
TODAY, THE demand is not sovereignty but statehood, which is why three of the four NDFB battalions agreed to a ceasefire and came to the negotiating table. The 'Third Battalion', under the leadership of Ranjan Daimary (now in jail), remained active and carried out this massacre.
But sources close to the ground had a different take: that the recruitment process is on and with every encounter, popular support for the NDFB grows. Not only does the NDFB have operational camps in the jungles of the Assam-Arunachal border, the Garo Hills and Myanmar, but 70 cadres are being trained by Anal Borphukon and Kokok Borgosiam of the ULFA in a joint NDFB, ULFA and NSCN(K) camp in Myanmar.
Anjali Daimary, head of the Bodo Women's Justice Forum and the sister of jailed NDFB leader Ra
The areas in which the NDFB operates control the gateways to the Northeast. The recent attacks are worrying when put into the context of what an underground contact let slip during a meeting — "Something big is coming."