Group Clashes Shock Northeast India
By Nava Thakuria
Group clashes that erupted in middle Assam of Northeast India during the first week of this month had shocked the entire populace of the country. Violence broke out in Udalguri district of the State on Oct. 3, 2008 and elongated for almost a week to snatch away the live of over 50. More over, the hostility between the Bodo tribes people and immigrant Bangladeshis in four districts of Assam (Udalguri, Darrang, Baksa and Chirang) left hundreds wounded and thousands families with women and minor children in the relief camps.The incident was surprising because nobody outside the localities under the Bodo territorial council apprehended about it. Not to speak of common people, the police and intelligence department also failed to understand and predict the growing intolerance between the two communities since August. The Bangladeshi settlers were angry with local Bodos in some areas of Udalguri and Darrang, as they opposed an agitational program, sponsored by the Muslims, during the middle of August. The violence this time erupted with a small incidence of stealing of cattle bythe Bangladeshi settlers from a Bodo village. The flame of communal violence rapidlyengulfed the adjacent areas and finally it spread widely in four districts of the Bodoland Territorial (Autonomous District) Council.The BTC was formed after the Bodoland Tiger Force went for a peace agreement with New Delhi in 2003. The leaders and members of BLT later gave birth to Bodo People's Front to join the electoral process. Now the BPF is an ally of the Congress government led by Tarun Gogoi. The government tried hard to take the situation under control. Thousands of police, army and paramilitary troops were deployed in the strife torn areas. The army and paramilitary forces continued to stage flag march in the affected areas for continuously for many days. Army choppers were also engaged for air surveillance. Even curfew was clamped for more than a week, though it was relaxed during day time as the situation started improving.The Assam Tribune, the oldest English daily of Northeast, commented in an editorial that 'the ethnic riots in Udalguri and Darrang districts expose the failure of the State government to maintain law and order and provide security to the people living in sensitive areas.' It also added, "It is unfortunate that the State government led by TarunGogoi, miserably failed to anticipate the situation and allowed the mayhem to continue for several days. It also made the situation more complicated by issuing off the cuff remarks by the Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and the government spokesperson, Minister Himanta Biswa Sarmah."The State chief minister Gogoi was quick to blame the National Democratic Front of Bodoland militants for the violence. He found a supporting voice in his loyalist minister Himanta Biswa Sarma's comment. The State Health and Family Welfare minister Sarma visited some affected areas and later addressing the local media at Mangaldai, he termed the act as a systematic ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the NDFB militants. He even warned that the militant outfit, which is under ceasefire agreement with New Delhi, to review the truce. The BTADC chief Hagrama Mohilary also accused the NDFB as being involved in the killing. But the NDFB general secretary Govinda Basumatary refuted the allegation promptly. Amazingly the State police chief RN Mathur also revealed that there was no evidence of NDFB's involvement in the violence of Udalguri and Darrang districts.The minister's comment about 'ethnic cleansing' was not digested by many. The Bodo Women Justice Forum president Anjali Daimary also condemned the minister Himanta Biswa Sarma for his irresponsible comments. Addressing the media persons at Guwahati Press club, Ms Daimary even held the minister responsible for the recent carnage in Udalguri and Darrang districts. She also asked the young minister 'not to meddle in the internal affairs of the Bodo people' any more.The main opposition party of Assam, the Asom Gana Parishad asked Gogoi to resign as he failed miserably in both ways, as the head of the government and also the Home minister of the State. After visiting the riot affected areas, the party's newly elected president, Chandra Mohan Patowary also demanded an impartial inquiry to find out whether Pakistani flags were hoisted in the violence affected areas. Patowary, also the leader of the opposition in the State Assembly asked the Gogoi government not to take the issue lightly.Gogoi earlier tried to clarify that the flag, which was seen by many people including some journalists at Mohanpur under Udalguri district, was associated with the festival of Eid and not symbolizes Pakistan. The Assam government spokesman Sarma also rubbished the report that there were Pakistani flags in the conflict ridden areas. Of course, the local television channels telecast the visuals of Pakistani flags flying at Sonaripara and Mohanpur village. Many Guwahati based newspapers also published photographs of the Pak flag in the front page. The All Assam Students' Union and the All Bodo Students' Union representatives expressed their annoyances that 'the indigenous people of Assam were forced to leave their residences to take refuge in the relief camps.' After visiting the affected localities, the AASU adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya alleged that Gogoi had compromised with national security by protecting those involved in the incident.Worried New Delhi asked the State government to take all possible means to restore normalcy in the violence hit localities and rehabilitate the victims. The central government also suggested Gogoi to maintain adequate security and food at the relief camps. Soon after paying a visit to the affected areas, E. Ahmed, the Union minister ofstate for External Affairs met Gogoi and informed him about New Delhi's worryness.Even the Asom Sahitya Sabha president Kanaksen Deka also blamed Gogoi for his inefficiency to handle the situation. Earlier the Bodo Sahitya Sabha criticized Gogoi for not 'visiting the violence-hit areas (even though less than 200 km away from Dispur) to assess the situation.' The BSS president Dr Kameswar Brahma blamed Gogoi as he failed to take prompt actions to save the lives and properties of the victims even though he holds the Home portfolio. Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission (of India) has accepted the incidence of group clashes seriously. Taking suo moto cognizance of the media reports regarding the violence, the commission has already issued notices to the state government to submit a report in the matter. The NHRC also decided to send a team to assess the situation in the affected areas.Earlier facing the increasing heat of criticism, Gogoi visited the affected areas on seventh day of the violence. He initiated a judicial probe into the incidences of violence after his visit to the location on October 9. Lately Gogoi opted for a CBI probe into the incidence of hoisting of Pakistan flag with an aim to punish those involved in the incidence.
|A Cartoon - Group clashes shock Northeast India.|
Pandemic-Hit Book Publishers Eye for Openings
India: Persisting Vulnerability to Scribes
Bharat: Nurturing Nationalism with National ...
POK Editor Bats for More Exchanges
Cries Mounted for Reviving Nabin Chandra ...
Scam, Media Outburst and Its Aftermath
Amidst Chinese Threat Dalai Lama Concludes ...
Asserting Media Person’s Rights in India
China’s Myanmar Bonanza Sans Responsibility
Manufacturing Misguided Protests in Assam
Assam Forum Bats for Work Permits to ...
Bhupen-da Came alive with Dhola-Sadiya Bridge ...
Remembering My Principal Sir!
Saluting Tricolour to Defy Militants’ Diktat ...
Underlining India’s Productive Engagement in ...
Young Journalist Killed in India, ...
Unpaid Media Employees of Northeast India
Journalist Body Urges Political Parties to ...
Saving the Tigers from Extinction
Glorious Tribute to Bhupenda
Burmese Students Term New Government Bogus
Burma Turns Hostile to Indian Separatist Groups
Northeast India Rediscovers Tricolour
Indian People’s Win Inspires Burmese Activists
Nobel Support for a Noble Cause
Activists Condemn India’s Arm Deal with Burma
Protest Note from Guwahati Press Club
Journalists’ Killings: Justice Eludes in ...
Games Gogoi Played In Assam Polls
Remembering Parag: Assam’s Way
Helicopter Missing from Northeast Indian Sky
Allegations Poured on Indian Premier
Allegations Fired at Indian Premier
Rising Resentment against Corruption in India
Satellite News Channel Launched in Northeast ...
Looking at Burma's Forthcoming General ...
Burma Election, Refugees and Media’s Role
When British Newspaper Tenders Apology to ...
TST Contributor Honored with Excellence Award
Burning Rhino Horns: Creating Controversy
Condemning Military Election in Burma
Protest against Military Election in Burma
Burmese Demonstrates Anger against Junta
Assam: A Pretending Warrior and Peace ...
South-eastern Bangladesh Erupts in Violence
Grim Picture of Human Rights in India
Burma on Radar as New Delhi Prepares
Assam: Where People Defy Militant's Diktat
Bangladesh Readies to Hang Bangabandhu Killers
International Film Festival Begins in Guwahati
RK Pachauri under Attack from British Media
Selling News Space Culture in India: Concerns ...
Asian MPs Insist on a Free & Fair 2010 Burma ...
Guwahati Festival to Highlight Terrorism
Assam: Brutal Armed Group, Incompetent ...
Without Suu Kyi, 2010 Polls Have No Meaning
Beijing Eyes Northeast India !
Bumpy Road to Copenhagen
Nava Thakuria Elected Assistant Gen. Sec. of ...
Northeast India: People Defy Militant’s ...
Northeast India: Waiting for Justice for 18 ...
Northeast India : Where Protector Turns Killer
Raising Support for Democracy in Burma
Indian Muslims Raise Voices for Uighurs
Will Captive Breeding of Vultures Work?
Northeast India: Trailing a Notorious Rebel
Is Burma Junta Learning from Cyclone Nargis!
Is a Nepali Fugitive Winning Indian Election?
When Politician Uses Scribe for Vested Interest
Assam Editor Killing: Protest Continues
Freedom under Chinese Boot in Tibet
Pride and Poverty: India's Amazing Blending
Sri Lankan Crisis: Shelling on Hospital ...
Northeast India Defies Militant's Diktat:
Woman Journalist Killed in Nepal
Urging for Insurance Coverage to Media Persons
Bangladesh: Waiting for a Stable Democratic ...
ULFA Leader Appeals UNHCR for Political Asylum
Assam Mourns Death of Mumbai Terror Attack
When an Assamese Magazine Rejects ...
Bangladesh Polls: Apprehension on Final Outcome
Manipur Asks for CBI Probe into Scribe's ...
Scribe's Killing in Northeast: Demand for ...
'Suspend Burma from BIMSTEC'
Guwahati Citizens Meet to Discuss Terrorism
When Media Distorts Facts to Manufacture News
Where Editors Swindle Reporters
Calling upon Comprehensive Packages for ...
Highlighting Media's Challenge and ...
Media on Media' Glitch: An Exercise of ...
An Ignited Assam Baffles ULFA
Assam Defies Militant's Diktat to Celebrate ...
Journalists Dare to Defy Militants' Diktat
When Bangladeshi Influx Ignites Assam
Nepal Can Expect a Consensus of Government Soon
Victorious Maoists Lose Battle for Kathmandu
India: Assam Party Waits for an Opportunity
Burma after Nargis: Devastated, Depressed and ...
When a Disastrous Regime Continues
Exposing Corrupt Journalists of Our Time
Nepal Waits a Republic Regime: Diasporas Don't ...
Waiting for Consensus on Government in Nepal
Condemnation Pours on Burmese Junta as Suu ...
American-Assamese Preparing White Paper on ...
Assam Government Bows Down to Public Outrages
Shaky Start to Druk Democracy
India and Burma Push Joint Project
Bhutan Turns Democratic
Disregarding Public Outcry: Assam Government's ...
Army, Police Heads Become Governors in North ...
Rhinos Dwindle as Poaching Thrives in India
Taste of Democracy in Bhutan Is Not for ...
Nava Thakuria, who serves as a special correspondent for The Seoul
Times, is based in Guwahati of Northeast India. He also contributes
articles for many media outlets based in different parts of the glove,
and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org