Monday, July 30, 2012

Congress has allowed this silent invasion

Author:  Kanchan Gupta, in The Pioneer on 29th July 12

The violence that raged in Bodo areas of Assam for almost a fortnight reflects the increasing resentment against immigrants from Bangladesh and the rising belligerence of Muslims who have sneaked into India illegally

When the worst becomes the norm, anything less than that is peddled as good news by the media in collaboration with a politically bankrupt Congress and the morally bankrupt regimes it heads in New Delhi and in the States. And so it is that much is being made of "normalcy slowly returning to Assam's violence-hit Bodo areas, where week-long communal clashes claimed 45 lives, with no reports of any fresh incidents of violence being reported from anywhere in the affected areas since Thursday".

There shall now be a collective sigh of relief and the 'useful idiots' of the commentariat will get busy with penning vacuous articles lauding Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Congress high command (where would the party and its Governments be without the shining leadership of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi?) for bringing the rioting to a halt. In the paradise inhabited by fools, the lingua franca is tailored to meet their exacting demands — for instance, lesser mortals would hesitate to draw too fine a distinction between bad and worse while I-am-so-clever commentators and I-am-more-clever-than-you politicians would insist bad is better than worse.

That would explain why much is being made of "normalcy slowly returning to Assam's violence-hit Bodo areas" although nothing could be more absurd than that. The situation was never normal in the 'violence-hit Bodo areas'; the week-long rioting that has left many dead (never mind the official toll) and tens of thousands of Bodos seeking shelter in refugee camps (it's strange how Indians are ever so often rendered 'refugees' in their own land!) is only a manifestation of the abnormal situation that has been born of the Congress's cynical politics of rank minorityism and allowed to fester by the party's Governments in Dispur and New Delhi.

The killing, the looting and the arson may stop in the next few days, the Bodos who have fled their home and hearth may return some day, but that would be no measure of 'normalcy'. For decades tribals and indigenous people of Assam — in fact, the entire North-East — have been seething with anger over the relentless assault on their land, their customs, their culture and their way of life by Bangladeshi Muslims who sneak in through a border that has been purposefully left porous, slyly settle down on land that does not belong to them, illegally secure citizenship through ration cards helpfully provided by the Congress which then goes on to include their names on electoral rolls.

That anger turns into murderous rage when it boils over. But it does not dissipate; it simmers and erupts into violence again. There's nothing ethnic about Assam's indigenous people (Bodos, for example, and Assamese Muslims included) striking out at Bangladeshi intruders, and belligerent Muslim invaders (illegal immigration is a silent invasion, an act of aggression as the Supreme Court described it while striking down the infamous IMDT Act), once they are sure of their numerical strength and political clout, and feel no need to be meek any more, retaliating with greater violence.

Little that has appeared in newspapers and been shown on news television reflects the magnitude of the latest round of communal violence to visit Assam, and even less explains why conflict is inevitable. That is how it is meant to be, lest the people know of the truth, and the truth exposes the Congress for what it has long been guilty of: Subverting India's national interest for a fistful of votes at election time. Hence, to feel the anger and gauge the rage among the Assamese, it would be useful to scan social media platforms and blogs. Here's an example. Blogger Majid Rehman, an Assamese, writes on the Kokrajhar riots:

"The Government neither has the desire OR the competence to do anything. And while Governments might change, the people running the new Governments will still be the same ineffectual fools. Or Machiavellian monsters! A state machinery that takes two weeks to apprehend an eve teasing thug will never be able to clear the scum from your home. Make no mistake about that.

"But what am I so angry about? Bangladeshis are not new in Assam. Every maid, every jugali, every rickshaw-puller since my youth has always been a 'miya'. We lived our lives against this constant backdrop of checked lungis and cheap printed sarees… There is a difference now, a strong one! The rickshaw-puller from 20 years back would/could never look you in the eye. The maid did not have a son who was a two-bit politician in some All-Assam Minority party. Then, they were the menials and they knew it. Now they are the vote-bank. The X-factor. The minority vote. And the eyes have started to rise. In some parts of the State the eyes are even tinted with scorn. They now run amok, burn villages and threaten to do worse.

"And that is the root of my anger, my fear, my impotent rant. For years I believed disfranchisement was the answer. If they wouldn't vote, there could be no vote bank politics. If there was no vote-bank there would be no mollycoddling, and hence no resultant swagger. Ladies and gentlemen, today I think even that ship has sailed. Just sheer numbers indicate that they don't really need the sops anymore. They are ready to bite the hand that feeds. Right now it is contained to the Bodo lands, but it's a matter of time till the circus breaches the bastions. And they, like the Brahmaputra, continue to flow in..."

This is an accurate measure of how worrisome the situation is, how deep-seated is the resentment against the silent invasion from the east. But, as I have often argued in the past, those who stand to gain from the votes of India's bogus citizens as well as those who believe that there is nothing sacred about nationality, leave alone the nation, have successfully struck the issue of illegal immigration from Bangladesh off the agenda of public discourse. Practitioners of cynical vote-bank politics and fake secularism, who also happen to extol tolerance of the intolerable as the litmus test of liberalism, have united to erase what should have agitated every Indian from the collective consciousness of this nation. And they have succeeded in doing so. Nothing else explains why illegal immigration from Bangladesh finds no mention in either political debate or policy deliberation. Any effort, no matter how feeble, to raise the issue is met not only with fierce resistance but slander and worse.

Yet, the indisputable fact is that Assam and the other States in India's North-East, as also West Bengal and Bihar, continue to face a relentless tide of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. This 'silent invasion' by millions of people over the years has been encouraged by the Congress and the CPI(M), apart from their 'natural' allies, who swear by virtuous secularism and highfalutin constitutionalism only to violate it in practice. Illegal immigrants are not only encouraged by these parties to enter India they are also provided with 'documents' to help them settle on land that belongs to others. Their names are entered on voters lists, thus creating a vast vote-bank of aliens who legally have no right to vote in India. This fraud has been perpetrated over the decades and the Congress has been its beneficiary in Assam, while in West Bengal the Left has used Bangladeshis to inflate its vote-share significantly. Elsewhere, others have been similarly tempted.

(The writer is a senior journalist based in Delhi.)

With kind Regards,

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