On the 8th of February 2020, the villagers in Kukurapuhia village, ten kilometers from Naharkatia in Upper Assam had just finished their dinner when they heard two cars speeding through the village roads.
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Out of curiosity when the villagers tried to find out where the cars were headed, they realized they had stopped at the house of Debajyoti Duarah, the president of the Sasoni unit of the Bir Lachit Sena, an Assamese nationalist outfit which has actively led protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
The cars were packed with paramilitary personnel in military fatigues along with four persons in plain clothes. Duarah’s wife panicked at this site and called upon the villagers to address the situation. By then, upon hearing the commotion at the house, many of the villagers had started gathering around.
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Upon being questioned about their purpose of visit, the people in plain clothes answered in Assamese that they had come for a raid based on reliable information. But they weren’t able to produce any warrant or Gaonburha’s permission letter or any other document supporting the same. Upon being asked to produce identification, they refused to produce IDs, said they had come from Duliajan Police Station and one of the plain clothed people pulled out a police cap from his pockets and said, “Isn’t this enough proof?” They pushed and manhandled Duarah’s wife and entered the house searching for evidences.
When they couldn’t find any, they went out but re-entered in a while and continued the search, this time capturing the proceedings in videos. They then pulled out a gun from below a cupboard shouting “Mil Gaya” (Found it) which according to the villagers couldn’t possibly be true. But when they saw the crowd of villagers outside the house, they abandoned their attempts and decided to leave.
The angry villagers blocked the road and didn’t allow the cars to pass. One of the cars however escaped and the other was left back. The personnel in the car that was left back started asking each other “CO Sir kaha gaye?” (Where is CO sir?) meaning they were under some governmental defense battalion. In the meantime, one of the villagers started recording the proceedings.
Seeing this, one of the military personnel threatened him saying, “Bandh karo video warna gadi me utha le jayenge” (Stop the video or we’ll pick you up in the car). In the meantime the first car returned and somehow managed to bail out its twin. It is to be noted that both cars had no number plates on them.
While leaving, they were escorted by two youth in motorcycles who were allegedly waiting nearby. Upon calling the gaonburah, he said that he had also been called to the Sasoni outpost from his sleep. The Sasoni out post officers upon being questioned knew about the case but were themselves unaware of the arrests and in fact asked the villagers whether there has been any arrests.
It is to be noted that this operation raises some important questions towards the Home and Chief Minister of Assam, Sarbananda Sonowal. An operation conducted under the veil of darkness without any proper documentation, expression of hegemony upon the woman, questionable legitimacy of the operation have very big resemblance to the dark chapter of Secret Killings in Assam.
It is to be noted that the IC of Naharkatia Police Station, Mr. Bhaskar Saikia, had dissuaded Duarah from joining the Lachit Sena. Under such circumstances, why was such a specific operation carried out against a position holder of the CAA protesting outfit? Neither Home minister Sonowal nor the Duliajan Police Station OC has made any remarks regarding this incident. People have even gone on to say that it was a stroke of luck that Debajyoti Duarah was not present in the house at that time.
Was this a fringe incident or is this the dark cloud that precedes a heavy storm? The villagers of Kukurapuhia must be commended because if they would not have come forward together and created commotion regarding the mysterious operation, the situation might have been worse. You can find the video of the incident below:
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