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NDFB victims to move court if rebels pardoned

GUWAHATI:  Trouble is brewing in Assam over speculation that the Centre may give amnesty to members of all four factions of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB).

An umbrella organisation of the families of militancy victims has threatened to take legal recourse if the government drops the cases against NDFB rebels. The Forum for Terrorist Victim Family Assam (FTVFA) said it will move the court if the government tries to drop cases against the NDFB members.

PM Modi is all set to visit Assam on February 7 when NDFB members are supposed to formally lay down their arms at a programme in Kokrajhar.

“The PM’s visit is confirmed,” state’s Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said after visiting Kokrajhar, where he was taking stock of the preparations for the programme. The NDFB has four factions and they will be disbanded soon.

Altogether 1,615 members of the four groups had laid down arms on January 30 after the third Bodo Accord with the central government on January 27.

“We cannot sit idle. We have to do something against it. We have convened a meeting of the members of the forum to discuss the issue and it will be held soon,” FTVFA founder Dhananjoy Saikia said. “We have already taken a decision to move the Supreme Court. We are discussing how we should go about it. We are in touch with our legal counsel,” he added.

Quoting from the Accord, the All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) said cases pertaining to non-heinous crimes will be withdrawn while those registered for heinous crimes will be considered case by case.

“These cases (crimes committed by NDFB members) cannot be seen at par with cases of rape or murder. The law has to take its own course but in a peaceful solution of a movement or revolution, the cases registered against persons should be dealt with differently to avoid bitterness in the future. There are precedents that such cases were treated differently,” ABSU president Promod Bodo, who is a signatory of the third Bodo Accord, said.

“Centre has a certain approach to solve such cases but at the same time, it takes utmost care to make sure the law of the land is not diluted. There shouldn’t be a revengeful attitude,” he added. One faction of the NDFB was involved in the serial bomb blasts in Assam in October 2008 in which nearly 100 people lost their lives while another faction was involved in the December 2014 massacre of Adivasis (tea community people) in some northern Assam districts. Around 80 people had lost their lives in the massacre.