Guwahati, July 19: Journalists’ Forum Assam (JFA), while appreciating Assam Chief Minister (also in charge of home portfolio), Sarbananda Sonowal for showing the initial political will on Dhubri journalist Rajib Sarma’s arrest incident, has urged for a high level probe, preferably by the Central Bureau of Investigation, into the cow-smuggling racket that continues to exist in different parts of the state bordering Bangladesh.
The issue of notorious cattle smuggling menace in Dhubri in western Assam lately comes to the public notice after the journalist’s arrest from his residence at Gauripur in a midnight coup that spread shock wave across the country as his ailing father Sudhin Sarma collapsed on July 16 morning finding it too difficult to bear with. Lately the district police chief and a forest officer, who alleged Rajib as an extortionist, have been transferred.
Reacting over the issue, the Supreme Court’s senior advocate Upamanyu Hazarika commented that the arrest of a journalist, who used to report on the racket and corrupt practices involved with it, in a criminal complaint demonstrates the depth & strength of the cattle smuggling mafia in Dhubri. Raising serious questions over the efficiency and intentions of the government in controlling the menace, Hazarika alleged that in the last five years cattle smuggling has only increased.
Talking about the CID investigation, precisely confined to the scribe’s wrongful arrest, Hazarika argued that the issue of ongoing cattle smuggling should have been the subject matter of investigation entrusted to the CBI. The convener of Prabajan Virodhi Manch also asserted that the cows from different parts of India are transported to Assam by the land route for smuggling to Bangladesh and hence Hazarika opined for strict regulations over inter-State transportation of the cattle.
“We would like to endorse Hazarika’s proposal for a CBI probe into the matter of cattle smuggling and hope that the State government in Dispur would consider it seriously,” said a statement issued by JFA president Rupam Barua and secretary Nava Thakuria. The forum also added that Rajib Sarma, who is on the interim bail, should receive necessary support from the management and colleagues of DY365 for his impending legal battles.