By S. M. Hali
The Indian state of Assam has been the venue of ethnic clashes since decades but in 2012, these clashes have spiraled high because of Indian government’s callousness and mismanagement. In July 2012, bloody clashes took place between the ethnic Bodos and migrants of Bangladeshi origin. The first incident was reported to have taken place on 20 July 2012. The death toll reached seventy seven by 8 August 2012, while over 400,000 people were displaced from almost 400 villages, being forced to take shelter in 270 relief camps. Eleven people have been reported missing.
Matters reached a head on 27 July 2012, when Assam's Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi blamed the national government for "delay in army deployment to riot-hit areas". The next day, Indian Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh visited the relief camps in Kokrajhar and called the recent violence a blot on the face of India. Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram visited the state belatedly on Monday, 30 July to review the security situation and the relief and rehabilitation measures being taken.
The members of the Opposition found it opportune to take pot shots at the government. However, it was relevant to listen to the opinion of the parliamentarians from the strife torn province. Lok Sabha member from Bodoland, Sansuma Khunggur Bwiswuthiary blamed illegal immigration for the violence in the state. The election Commissioner of India, H. S. Brahma, opined that of the 27 districts in Assam, 11 of them will be shown to have a Muslim majority when the 2011 census figures are published. Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh was criticized for not dealing with the flood of illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
The violence and exodus of thousands of people from North East reportedly led to a series of incessant protests in Assam, at multiple locations, during the months of August-September. The protesters' main demand was expeditious detection and deportation of illegal infiltrators from Assam. On 15 September, at a convention of non-political tribal groups, organizations representing Bodo, Dimasa, Tiwa, Deuri, Karbi, Garo, Rabha, Sonowal, Kachari and other tribal communities decided to form a coordination committee for the cause. The tribal leaders said that illegal immigration has threatened the existence, right to land and resources to all indigenous people of the entire state, and it was not limited to Bodoland alone. Many of them said that the violence in Bodoland was due to illegal immigration. [
Reports from Indian media and Human rights organizations, confirm that there have been fresh clashes and cases of arson in Assam and more people have died in ethnic violence. Shoot-at-sight orders are in place in four districts. The exodus of people from villages affected by the clashes continues, with little or no relief in sight.
Assam, which has a population of about 31 million people, has a long history of ethnic strife. The current violence is focused on the westernmost region of the state, which is claimed by the Bodos as their homeland. For years, Bodo insurgent groups fought for political autonomy, with some seeking statehood and others seeking an independent Bodo nation.
In another strife torn part of India, Naxals observed "Martyrs' Week" affecting the normal life in rebel-hit southern region of the state, three Maoists were arrested in Odisha's Koraput district. On first day of ‘Martyr's Day, transport was disrupted in Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada and Gajapati. In one of the biggest anti-Maoist operations in Jharkhand, security personnel seized 130 landmines planted on either side of a road near Palna dam in neighboring Seraikela-Kharswan district. The landmines were planted to target the security personnel involved in anti-Maoist operation and were connected with codex wire.
The Naxal movement is gaining momentum· with the passage of time. It has spread to both urban and rural areas, ranging 200 districts of India. The Naxal movement is a result of failure of governance. The Indian Government cannot stop the growth of Naxalites through the police, Salwa Judum or the army. It can only do so by removing the grievances forming the basis of the Naxal movement.
The maximum disturbances are occurring in India’s illegally occupied state of Jammu and Kashmir. Extrajudicial killing is the tactics used by Indian Army to deter Kashmiris to demand rights of self determination. Around 173 cases of fake encounters have been reported between years 2002 to 2011. Whereas in the current year, 6 incidents of fake encounters have been reported. Recently, 2 innocent Kashmiris have been killed by the Indian Army in a fake encounter. These killings have sparked massive protests in Kashmir Valley, but State authorities remained unmoved and tried to cover up the crimes of Security Forces.
The extrajudicial killing incidents in Kashmir Valley are a major cause for concern for Human Rights activists. However, their pleas appear to be falling on deaf ears. Indian / State authorities are neither allowing pro-movement leadership to interact with Kashmiri populace nor it is permitting them to organize peaceful protests to pursue their right of self determination. In this regard the authorities have restricted the movement of pro-movement leadership by frequently detaining / house arresting them on one pretext or the other. Of late, during the month of Ramadan and Eid-days, entire pro-movement leadership had been placed under house arrest to prevent any public interaction. So much so, that they were not allowed to offer Eid prayers.
Besides indulging in genocide of innocent Kashmiris, plunder of their resources, incarceration of Kashmiri youth on trumped up charges and the rape of their women, there is a heinous plot afoot to derail Kashmir peaceful political movement by the Indian government by creating a gulf between the leadership and general public.
It is ironic that India blames the government of Pakistan for unrest in Balochistan. The government of Pakistan has taken cognizance of the problems of the Balochi youth but has also found evidence that the fires in Balochistan are stoked by Indian spy agency RAW. On the other hand, the Indian state is itself embroiled in ethnic strife as well as repression in numerous provinces, where loss of human lives appears to be of no consequence whatsoever.