The hurried allegations against Pakistan by the Indian government, as the source of bulk messages and videos which caused the mass exodus of people belonging to the North-east from various cities, seem to be very suspect to say the least.
From the day when hundreds of innocent people were killed in Assam and lakhs of people displaced from their homes, in what was reported as riots between people of the Bodo tribe and illegal Muslim migrants from Bangladesh, several developments have taken place orchestrated by a seemingly invisible hand. Investigators who went to the affected areas have pointed out, as for example in the video documentary “Assam: Truth vs Hype”, that villagers from both the Bodo and Muslim villages swore that armed gangs form outside the area looted their belongings, raped their women and burnt their villages. The brunt of the carnage was borne by innocent villagers.
The incidents which followed this ethnic carnage in other parts of India also reveal that they are not isolated incidents but a part of a well orchestrated plan. In Mumbai, just a few days after the Assam carnage, a violent rally was organized by some groups to supposedly condemn the killings of Muslims in Assam and Myanmar. Reminding us chillingly of the targeting of Sikhs using voter lists during the genocide in 1984, and the targeting of Muslim households in the Gujarat genocide in 2002, people of the north-east living in southern cities were targeted with sms and video messages. In a massive coordinated effort, panic was spread among thousands of people from north-east in several cities within a few hours. As if on cue special trains were organized by the railways, with orders coming from a central authority of course. Tales of rapes and murders, mischievously fictitious, were circulated.
The blame for this should be squarely placed with the central and state governments (both of them led by Congress) who have systematically encouraged various groups belonging to both the Bodo and Muslim community to keep them divided and keep the discontent simmering so that they will fall easy prey to the electoral ambitions of the political parties of the establishment. This policy of divide and rule by creating conditions and encouraging communal and ethnic carnages has been fully endorsed by the major opposition party, the BJP, whose leaders recently alleged in Parliament that “foreigners” constituted 60-80 percent of the population in certain districts of Assam.
The Indian rulers and their political parties have followed a systematic policy of racially profiling the people of the north-east, discriminating them politically and economically, and refusing to recognize them as belonging to various nationalities and tribal groups. Their just struggles for national liberation have been tarnished as secessionist and extremist. The entire region has been deprived of basic facilities such as roads, railways, health facilities and other essential services. Lack of education facilities and severe unemployment have forced large numbers of youth from the region to migrate to other states and cities. Forced to live in an insecure environment, women from the north-east have particularly been made targets of sexual assaults. In short, people of the north-east have never been made welcome in the Indian Union, by vested interests of the ruling elite.
This policy of national, political and economic discrimination against the people of the north-east has been backed by military operations and black laws. The region has been literally under military occupation for years together. Rape of women and the torture of youth happen with revolting regularity. The custodial rape of Thangjam Manorama rankles the conscience of every Indian even today, many years after the crime. Under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), people are prevented from coming out on the streets in their own locality and women are prevented from selling their produce in the market. Given this situation, can anyone expect that the people of the north-east will be contented with the pious declaration of the ruling party leaders that they will somehow ensure safety and security?
There was an expectation from those affected that the central government will do a honest assessment of its north-east policy and come up with concrete measures to ensure that such carnages don’t happen again. The way it has absolved itself of all crimes and hurled accusations against Pakistan as being the source of this problem, portends ominously that the existing policy is not going to change. By not admitting its crimes, the central government and the parties of the ruling establishment will be only opening the doors for interference and destabilization from foreign powers who, unlike Pakistan, have the wherewithal to destabilize even a large country like India to further their interests in the south-Asian region.
While strongly condemning the central government and its north-east policy as the source of insecurity for the people of the region, Lok raj Sangathan calls upon all democratic people to demand that this policy of national, political and economic discrimination of the region should be ended and conditions created for the protection of national, political and human rights of the people of the north-east.