Kokrajhar riots – A National Problem
The burning of Muslim villages and killing of members of the community in the Kokrajhar – Dhubri in Assam is one of the heinous crime committed against humanity. The violence in Assam has so far claimed over 44 lives and displaced over 200,000 people from 400 villages.
The conflagration has led to the largest exodus of people in the state's recent history. The state government and the central government have virtually failed to protect its innocent citizens.
The recent riots in Assam are part of the bigger problem ‘Assam’s citizenship issue’ the bone of contention between those who claim to be the natives of the land and those whom they castigate as “illegal settlers.”
The unfortunate part is a section of the media has termed the victims who have been living in Assam for centuries, as “illegal immigrants or Bangladeshi settlers” something that is far from true.
The latest violence in Assam is a recurrence of those that happened in 1982-83 at Nelli in which Muslims were subject to a planned ethnic cleansing.
Some ten years later similar act took place in 1993-4 at Kokrajhar, where Muslims were attacked, killed and driven away from their homes by the Bodo tribal.
The victims got settled in other places with government permission and built their own villages that were not liked by the so called natives.
When Bodo Territorial (Autonomous) Council (BTC) was formed, the BTC raised an outcry about these Muslims and said they were newcomers on the land.
In the latest riots they launched a fresh ethnic cleansing against the Muslims in order to avail maximum area for the BTC.
This has caused an untold suffering to the local Assamese Muslims and the need of the hour is to take urgent measures to stop the rioting and rehabilitate the victims.
The state government should take strong action against those who have unleashed a reign of terror and an exemplary punishment should be given to those who have taken the law in their hands.
“Assam’s citizenship issue" is a national problem and a permanent and amicable solution of this has to be found sooner than later. If this does not happen such acts of violence is bound to occur time and again.
Syed Ali Mujtaba is a journalist based in Chennai.He can be contacted at email@example.com