At least 30 people were injured as mobs clashed with police and security forces in Assam’s Bodoland on Tuesday. The people were protesting a recent Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) decision on land sale. The problem started in Kokrajhar and Chirang districts where people took to the streets to enforce a bandh called against the BTC move restricting the sale of land to non-tribals in the BTC area without the authority’s permission. The bandh supporters set tyres and an auto-rickshaw on fire and put up barricades in Charaikhola area in Kokrajhar district. Others blocked National Highway 31 at Sidli in Chirang district, affecting the movement of vehicles.
Safiur Rahman, the driver of the auto-rickshaw which was set ablaze, received 40 per cent burn injuries. “As the situation turned violent, the police first fired tear gas shells and then resorted to firing of rubber bullets at both the places to disperse the crowd,” Inspector General of Police (BTAD) Anurag Agarwala told IANS. “Police used minimum force to restrain the protesters. The situation is under control now.”
Bodoland, officially the Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD), consists of Kokrajhar, Chirang, Bagsa and Udalguria districts. It is run by the BTC council which is ruled by the Bodoland Peoples’ Front (BPF), a constituent of the BJP-led government in the state. While Bodos are the single largest group in BTAD, there is also a large non-tribal population there.