The clashes between Bodos and Muslims in Assam, have so far claimed the lives of over 40 persons (official figure) and have rendered over four hundred thousands homeless apart from large scale destruction of property.
Its not a day or two but almost an entire week has passed and scattered violence is still being reported. This is a huge failure on part of the administration. Congress leaders may shout that the situation can’t be compared with the Gujarat 2002.
But the Chief Minister of Assam, Tarun Gogoi, his government, and his police, totally failed to control the situation in his state.
One of the worst riots since 2002
Even as violence spread from Kokrajhar to neighbouring districts, the lack of will on part of the state government in checking violence, was evident. It is a fact that since 2002, Gujarat has not seen a major riot and even if there was a riot, it would have led to an uproar in media.
But during the initial days of Assam riots, national TV channels ignored it [Just like in the past when ULFA was involved, and news gained prominence when HuJI was named]. The fact is that after Gujarat 2002, Assam 2012 are one of the worst ethnic-religious communal riots in India, save for the period when anti-Christian violence occurred in Karnataka and Kerala.
Congress has no moral high ground left over BJP
Still, Congress leaders have the cheek to appear morally superior to BJP. They have no right to do so. Tarun Gogoi didn’t seem in control. And, now he passes the buck on Centre, as to why Army was not sent initially? So why did he not ask for it earlier?
Or the rules are different for riots in a Congress-ruled state? Congress-led UPA is at the helm at the Centre and it can’t escape the blame either. After all, Prime Minister of India, is a member of parliament [in Rajya Sabha] representing Assam.
In the North East, there has been a history of such violence as the region is home to several tribes. One instantly remembers the horrific Naga-Kuki clashes in Manipur. The difference is that when one of the side involved in violence is Muslim, the debate totally shifts to ‘infiltration’ and ‘illegal immigration’.
Humanitarian crisis: Don’t see it from communal prism
On social networking websites, often the extent of violence aside, debate shifts as to which community suffered more and hence becomes a Hindu Vs Muslim issue rather than the killing of Indian citizens including women and children.
The worst example is how people searching for number of dead belonging to their own communities. Anyone who has a blog or site, would tell how statistics shows visitors searching for figure of dead Hindus and Muslims. Isn’t it a shame!
No denying infiltration but the fact that media persons termed entire Muslim populace as ‘migrant settlers’ is also highly objectionable. There are reports that the militant NDFB [National Democratic Front for Bodoland] was responsible for the ethnic riots.
Role of NDFB, Bodo groups: But what about govt accountability?
The NDFB is well-known for its involvement in subversive activities and it also has Bangladeshi connection. But just that it is not a Muslim group, it can’t be absolved. Rather than sweeping statements about religious factors, there is need to look at the crisis from a humanitarian angle.
Similarly, blaming a group is easy. These are political tactics to shift the onus, and save self from accountability.
But it can’t Congress’ record in dealing with communal riots is well-known. Just that focus is always less on North East, didn’t work this time. A death in Gurgaon or two killed in Meerut always make more news because of proximity to New Delhi.
But no longer. Media had to finally realise the gravity of the situation. Time for Congress to take a decision on Tarun Gogoi. If he couldn’t control the situation, he should be made to pay for it.