Eminent citizens and academics from the North East region have called for an immediate dialogue between the strife-torn groups and communities to restore confidence and peace in the region.

The citizens were part of the peace and solidarity mission to the trouble-torn areas of Western Assam, and included A C Bhagabati, former Vice-Chancellor, Rajiv Gandhi University, Niketu Iralu, peace activist, Kohima, Anuradha Dutta, retired Professor, Political Science, Gauhati University, Monisha Behal, Chairperson, North East Network, Guwahati, Abu Nasar Said Ahmed, Former Director, OKD Institute, Guwahati, Anil Boro, Professor, Folklore Studies, Gauhati University, among others.

The mission, which visited a few relief camps in the affected districts of Dhubri, Bongaingaon and Kokrajhar on August 7-8, said since most camps were in schools, there was water supply and power. But, sanitation and medical facilities were found to be inadequate.

They said people from both the communities (Bodos and Muslims) had to flee from their homes as their pleas were not heeded by the administration. “In short, the absence of effective policing and patrolling and inefficient response to pleas for help remained the singularly important factor for this exodus, apart from rumours and threats,” they said.

The team found that complaints and FIRs lodged seem to be collective and were lodged by the police themselves. “Such omnibus FIRs will become a subsequent hurdle in delivery of justice,” the team said, and called for filing of individual FIRs for easy delivery of compensation and justice to the victims.

The team also felt that a compensation package within a given time-frame could be an important instrument in bringing a sense of security and peace among the affected.

aditi.n@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on August 20, 2012)
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