Bangladesh-Origin Muslims Held For Rape And Murder Of Two Minor Tribal Girls In Assam

Bangladesh-Origin Muslims Held For Rape And Murder Of Two Minor Tribal Girls In AssamKokrajhar railway station.
Snapshot
  • The minor girls, who had gone missing, were found hanging from a tree in a forested area near their native Abhayakuti village in Assam's Kokrajhar district.

Seven people, at least three of whom are Bengali-speaking Muslims, have been arrested for the rape and murder of two minor girls belonging to the indigenous Rabha tribe of Assam in the state’s Kokrajhar district.

The two minor girls, who had gone missing from Friday (11 June) afternoon, were found hanging from a tree in a forested area near their native Abhayakuti village the same evening.

Some local politicians and a section of the district police tried to pass off the deaths as suicide, but the family members insisted the two had been murdered.

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma intervened and instructed the state police to conduct a thorough probe. Sarma also travelled to Kokrajhar on Sunday (13 June) to meet the family members of the victims.

The Chief Minister announced late Tuesday (15 June) evening that the “case has been solved” and seven people have been arrested.

He also revealed the names of three of the accused as Muzammil Sheikh, Nazibul Sheikh and Farouk Rahman.

The victims were gangraped, strangulated and then their bodies hung from a tree to (as Sarma said) “hoodwink the police”.

Kokrajhar is part of the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) that has witnessed a huge demographic imbalance caused by the migration and settlement of lakhs of Bangladesh-origin Bengali-speaking Muslims.

These migrants have, since the early 1950s, entered Assam illegally through Dhubri and South Salamara districts and their first and second generation descendants have then settled in the rest of the state, including the neighbouring BTR.

These illegal migrants from Bangladesh and their descendants have forcibly settled down in forests and illegally occupied community grazing lands as well as land belonging to Hindu religious institutions all over Assam.

The abnormally high birth rate among these illegal migrants from Bangladesh, the influx from that country, has also taken the form of a 'demographic invasion' that has turned many districts of lower Assam into Muslim-majority districts.

This has resulted in many clashes between the Bengali-speaking Muslims who entered Assam illegally and settled down in BTR, and the indigenous people, especially the Bodos, of the region.

Hundreds have died in such clashes and tens of thousands displaced. Apart from the Bodos, other indigenous tribes like the Rabhas have also borne the brunt of this 'demographic invasion' and have been reduced to a minority in their own lands.

The crime rate in the vast swathes of Assam which have been wrecked by this demographic invasion has also seen a steep rise.

Murders, rapes, crimes against women and crimes triggered by religious intolerance have become common in these areas that, till a few decades ago, had never witnessed such crimes.

According to state crime records, most of the perpetrators of such heinous crimes, especially crimes against women, are Bangladesh-origin Bengali-speaking Muslims.

The victims have often been women and girls belonging to indigenous tribes.

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