Guwahati, Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Is there any solution to this ethnic conflict?
The dance of death and the orgy of violence that the Bodo Territorial Area District (BTAD) has been witnessing since the past few days are not something new. The BTAD areas have seen ethnic clashes between the Bodo and non Bodo people in the past too. So will this region ever sees peace? Will the Bodo and non-Bodo people learn to co-exist and live in harmony? Is there any solution to this ethic conflict? Some prominent members of the Bodo society to find answers to these questions.
Dr. kameshwar Brahma, Bodo Sahity Sabha president
Whenever people belonging to the minority community are attacked in the BTAD area, the needle of suspicion always points towards the Bodo people. After the July 6 incident, this suspicion has only increased. On July 16 four Bodo youths were attacked and killed. Miscreants belonging to the minority community were involved in the killings. The local minority people of BTAD do not want violence. All communities have been living peacefully. But now that the blame game has begun, with one community blaming the other for the violence, distrust has crept into the minds of people.
A solution to this ethnic conflict is necessary. For that first of all we have to wipe away all fears from the minds of the people. They have seen a lot of violence and are living in fear and insecurity. Second, the government must rehabilitate that displaced people. Only after this is done can the peace process begin. Also, the miscreants who sowed the seeds of this violence must be identified and punished, no matter which community they belong to.
Anjali Daimary, Bodo Women's Justice Forum president
Many people are of the opinion that the BTC accord is the root of all the ongoing clashes in the BTAD area. Since the British rule, the Bodo community has always enjoyed certain privileges. Tribal belts and blocks were created for the socio-economic development of this community.
The Bodo movement resulted in the signing of the BTC Accord. Let me point out here that only the Bodo people took part in the Bodo movement, not the non-Bodo people. So now why is there so much of debate over the BTC Accord? If people had any objections why did they not voice their grievances at the time when the BTC Accord was signed?
The fact is that the non-Bodo people are mentally not ready to accept Bodo leadership. They are jealour that the Bodo people are getting a lion's share of everything. Since the Bodos had fought for this, the non-Bodo people should not be jealous now. They should change their mentality and accept Bodo leadership.
So far as the ongoing clashed are concerned, the government's negligence is to be blamed for this. The State Home Department and the Assam Police have failed to tackle the situation.
The Assam Government must also see why ethnic clashes take place in areas where indigenous communities live. These clashes take place not only in the BTAD areas but in Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao. The main reason for these clashes is the government's policy of discrimination.
When four Bodo youths were killed in the BTAD, the police saw who killed them but arrested nobody. But on July 25, when some miscreants burnt down a few houses a Masalpur, the police did not see who did it but yet two Bodo youths were arrested and some Bodo women were assaulted. Is this not discrimination?
The State Government will have to play a major role in building the confidence of the people in the BTAD. Also, now that the NDFB and the Centre are likely to sit for talks soon, there are some forces which are trying to sabotage these talks.
Ratneswar basumatary, litterateur
Some non-Bodo organizations have come up like the All Bodoland Minority Students' Union (ABMSU) and the All Assam Minority Students' Union (AAMSU) which are creating an impression that non-Bodo people are insecure in the BTAD areas and hence they are demanding that the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) Accord must be scrapped.
On May 252012, a suspected NDFB militant was killed at Howragiri in Kokrajhar district. Later, it turned out that he was the member of a Muslim organization and he was involved in extortion. On June 30, a Muslim man was attacked and killed at Sapatkata in Kokrajhar district. Non-Bodo organization took out a procession carrying the body of the slain man. There was a lot of furore over the killing of this man. Later, it was found out that he was the member of an Adivasi Militant Group. On July 5, two Muslim youths of East Bangladesh origin were shot at. The Bodo people were blamed for this but later these youths were identified as Kamatapur Liberation Organization (KLO) members.
Non-Bodo organization had encroached upon government forest land and wanted to set up an idgah there. The BTAD administration and some Bodo organization took action against these encroachers. After this, the July, 19 incident took place. The ABMSU and the AAMSU announced a jehad and called for a Kokrajhar district band. The situation only turned worse after this.
This violence is the handiwork of some miscreants and some religious organization which simply want to prove their might and power through these clashes. This must be stopped. All communities must sit together and take the decision to shun violence. Also, some Bangladeshi Muslims are trying to take advantage of the situation in the BTAD areas to hatch a political conspiracy. The local minority communities do not want violence. The government must give proper security to the people and all illegal Bangladeshis in the BTAD areas must be identified.