RIOTS IN ASSAM

Date: 15 Aug 2012

Comment

13 AUG 2012 \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ Victimised by communal politics \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ Author: Priyadarshi Dutta \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ Itís true that the violence that erupted in Assam was about a clash between the locals of the State and the infiltrators from Bangladesh. But then, it is equally true that the unrest is about religious identities \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ An inane theory is being floated that the recent Bodo-Muslim clashes that shovelled through the fault-lines in Assam were not really communal riots. They are allegedly just conflicts between the Indian nationals and the Bangladeshi infiltrators. I doubt whether any of the warring parties had a copy of the Indian Citizenship Act, 1955, in their hands. Even in the pre-partition days, when there was no Pakistan or Bangladesh, squatting on grazing reserves by Muslim immigrants from East Bengal constituted a major problem. Evicting them was a key policy pursued by the Gopinath Bardoloi Government, which took office on February 10, 1946. The previous Ministry of Sir SM Sadulla (August 25, 1942-Feb 1946) had encouraged such colonisation to demographically subsume Assam into East Bengal (Bang-e-Islam), with a view to incorporate it into Pakistan. Muhammad Ali Jinnah wanted his Pakistan to include the whole of Assam. Though that did not come about except for the district of Sylhet, which joined East Pakistan through a referendum (July 6-7, 1947), the idea has certainly not expired. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ A communal polarisation was evident in the last Assembly election of April, 2011. Paradoxically, the ĎHindu voteí shifted in favour of the Congress, being berated as pro-minority or pro-infiltrator by its detractors. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ This ĎHindu voteí helped the Congress tide over two-term anti-incumbency by spectacularly increasing its tally to 78 from 53 with vote share leaping from 31 to 39.3 per cent. The ĎHindu nationalistí BJP was nowhere in the reckoning. It bagged a mere five seats out of 120 it contested, forfeiting deposits in as many as 84 seats. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ The charges that the Congress panders to Muslims and Bangladeshi infiltrators are not baseless. Such a policy of the Congress provoked the Assam agitation (1979-1985), which saw the decimation of the grand old party in 1985 Assembly election accompanied by the rise of Asom Gana Parishad. But such accusations are now obsolete. They antedate the phenomenal rise of the All India United Democratic Front under Maulana Badruddin Ajmal. That is the present and clear danger to reckon with in any political discourse on Assam. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ The AIUDF might have won in 18 of the 78 seats it contested, but tally-wise it posted far better results than the AGP, which won 10 seats out of the 104 that it contested. Of the AIUDFís 18 candidates who made it to the Legislative Assembly at Dispur, 16 are Muslims and one a Hindu ST. To its credit, the AIUDF did give tickets to 20 Hindu candidates. But all of them barring Swapan Kar (Lumding), a Congress turncoat, lost. Thus the AIUDF can convincingly be said to be the promising party of Assamís Muslims. Of the Congressís 78 winners, not more than nine are Muslims. In 2006 election, out of Congressís 53 winners, eight were Muslims, down from 13 out of Congressís 71 in 2001. In 2006, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had openly accused Maulana Badruddin Ajmal as harbouring a communal agenda. His party, then registered as Assam United Democratic Front, was yet unrecognised. It contested in 69 seats and won 10 of whom seven were Muslims. He wanted a poll pact with the Congress but talks failed. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ In 2011, the Congress feared the prospect of losing out. It battled two-term anti-incumbency in addition to widespread allegation of corruption etc. But more than Congress fearing defeat, the people feared the prospect of AIUDF playing a decisive role in a patchwork Government. Neither the BJP nor the AGP, between whom there was no poll alliance, looked strong enough to provide an alternative.\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ Nor were they sufficiently seized of the danger from overt Muslim consolidation under the banner of the AIUDF. It was reasonable to fear that the AIUDF would extract its price from any coalition Government, which perhaps implied more Islamisation of that State. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ Mr Gogoi alone stood his ground that Mr Ajmalís credentials were communal. Mr Gogoi reached out to the Hindus of Bengali-dominated Barak Valley, providing a healing touch to the Bengali-Assamese divide. He asked the Congress workers not to chase the Muslim vote. The Bengalis of Barak Valley, traditional BJP loyalists, felt Mr Gogoi was their best bet against Maulana Ajmalís rising clout. This explains the surge of Hindu votes in favour of the Congress in Barak. Ratabari (SC), Patharkandi, Karimganj (North), Barkhola, Behali, all traditionally with the BJP, also went to the Congress.\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ Barak Valley was still plunged into communal tension in June, 2012. Sitting Congress MLA Rumi Nath, earlier with the BJP, junked her husband and converted to Islam to marry her Facebook friend Zakir Hussain. She became Rebia Sultana. This event scandalised not merely the Bengali society but also polarised the Congress itself. It also led to acts of violence. Bange-e-Islam might still be a reality. Academics may still be reading the Indian Citizenship Act. \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ http://dailypioneer.com/ columnists/item/52198- victimised-by-communal- politics.html \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\-- S. Kalyanaraman https://sites.google.com/site/ kalyan97/national-water-grid https://sites.google.com/site/ indianoceancommunity1/ ================================================================== 000000000