Death due to self-immolation protest for Land Rights – Serious Questions on KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi Govt

In a violent and tragic day for Assam, Pranab Bodo, a 43-year-old man and an activist of the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) for the last 10 years today self-immolated as a part of the agitation demanding land rights for 85,000 families living in and around Guwahati. Bodo, who is a carpenter by profession, was immediately rushed to the Gauhati Medical College Hospital with severe burns however he succumbed to his injuries this afternoon.

The self-immolation was carried out as a part of a planned agitation just a day ahead of Congress Vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s scheduled Assam tour. It is to be mentioned that the members of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, led by Akhil Gogoi who is a RTI activist and a part of the Team Anna, had threatened self-immolation on Sunday. The peasant’s body had threatened that they will not allow Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi to hold his proposed rally here and that some of their members would self-immolate themselves.

To must be mentioned that the incident took place despite deployment of police and paramilitary forces in and around the city since Monday morning to prevent any untoward incident in view of the protest called for.

The State Government had recently approved giving land rights to families residing on government land till 2001 but had rejected to give land rights to people living on forest lands and in wetlands across the state, as per the environmental norms. On the other hand, KMSS has been demanding land for those who have been dwelling on government lands, including forest lands and wetlands, till Dec 13, 2005 as per the provisions of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006.

It is indeed unfortunate that a person had to give his life for Land rights. However this whole incident poses some serious questions, as per feedback and word received from our concerned readers and people across the Globe (within this short span since the incident happened).

  • How can a body (KMSS) ask its members to kill themselves? It is a different matter for Terrorist groups to have suicide cells but for a group that calls itself a Farmers Body, is it not unfortunate to instigate its members to kill themselves? Would KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi dare to self-immolate instead of asking his grass root cadres to give away his or her lives? For the two children and the widow of Late Bodo, who would now take responsibility?
  • Should not be there criminal prosecution against those who instigated this irresponsible activity? Should there be any reason why leaders of KMSS such as Akhil Gogoi and Kamal Kumar Medhi must not be booked?
  • Why is Modi’s rally allowed to happen peacefully while KMSS, a non-political organisation plans to disrupt Rahul Gandhi’s rally by doing as serious incidents as self-immolation?
  • Why is Akhil Gogoi given protection from Assam Police, Inspite of so many violent acts carried out by KMSS themselves?
  • Why was the Government not able to handle such an incident proactively when they knew that such a threat was already in the open?

These are certain questions that need to be answered and thought over.

Akhil GogoiAssamKMSSKrishak Mukti Sangram SamitiPranab BodoRahul Gandhi