2012 yearender: Assam hogs limelight for wrong reasons
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The worst-ever violence between ethnic Bodos and migrant minorities, a molestation case that made national headlines, devastating floods and a boat tragedy that claimed over 100 lives marked 2012 for Assam.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi faced the worst crisis in office during the second year of his third term with the outbreak of violence in four Bodoland Territorial Administered Districts (BTAD) and Dhubri since the last week of July.
Clashes between Bodos and minority migrants claimed 110 lives and displaced several hundreds of people with more than 4.85 lakh people taking shelter in relief camps during the height of the violence in July-August.
The clashes have been attributed to land-related issues with the Bodos claiming they were the original inhabitants of the area and the illegal migrants from Bangladesh have encroached and settled on their land. The minorities claim the cadres of the disbanded Bodo Liberation Tigers were behind the clashes and they used illegal arms in their possession against the migrants to intimidate them.
Another major incident that rocked the state was the molestation of a girl by a mob outside a bar in the busy G S Road in July which was filmed by a television journalist and subsequently uploaded on Youtube triggering outrage. The incident led to the arrest of 16 people, including prime accused Amarjyoti Kalita and journalist Gauravjyoti Neog. While Kalita and 10 others were convicted by a local court, Neog and three others were acquitted.
The incident led to the transfer of several senior police officers while the Editor-in-Chief of the television channel as well as Neog had to resign from the organisation. It also created problems within the Gogoi Ministry as a senior cabinet minister, whose wife owns the channel, allegedly submitted his resignation but the matter was finally resolved.
As these controversies raged, the state faced one of the worst floods in recent years which claimed the lives of over 150 people and affected a population of nearly 50 lakhs in 25 of the 27 districts.