Incursion Into India A Prelude To More Threats And Violence?

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By Shib Shankar Chatterjee and C. Jotirmoy

The recent Boroland Territorial District violence caused distress, loss of homes and major displacement among the people. The area has become a launching point for fundamentalist forces to promote communalism. Some say they are doing this to create a psychosis of fear among other communities, especially in Dhubri district, where there are many minorities. There has been an exodus of hindu people from the minority populated areas.

Forces over the Indo-Bangla border are said to be urging local miscreants to perpetrate unlawful acts, upsetting communal harmony in the district.

Almost a month ago, Boro leaders submitted a memorandum to The Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh, Home Minister of India, P. Chidambaram, Governor of Indian State, Assam and Chief Minister of Assam, for urgent intervention, to stop the on-going communal clashes between ethnic Bodo Tribe and Minority Muslim community at Bodoland Territorial And District Council

Frustrated by government inaction, Boroland Leaders Asked Sonia Gandhi To Help Solve the Boro Problem. Then, India’s Minorities Commission visited the area, made only a partial investigation and Communalised The Ethnic Clash

International Border Barbed Wire Cut

A usually reliable source says a group of seven unidentified men entered Indian territory on 19th august by cutting the barbed wire at Jhaukuti international border in west Bengal, near Dhubri district. Subsequently the men went to Dhubri in a red Tata Sumo bearing a Dhubri district registration number. It is said this vehicle was prearranged, and waiting for them to arrive.

The group then melted away in the mainly minority populated areas of the district. There has been serious concern in different quarters about the motives of this group of men. News from various places in the district report veiled threats on hindu communities within the district. This has resulted in the exodus of these people to safer places in other parts of Assam and West Bengal.

There have been reports the seven men were well-armed, but if they are, it is unknown whether they brought the arms with them, or whether they were prided once they crossed the border.

There has also been news of attacks on hindu-owned businesses. In one such incident, a beer bar was torched last night at around 12.30 at Balajan under Gauripur police station in Dhubri district. A similar incident occurred at Agomoni on August 11 where the Sunita Bar was vandalized the belongings of the bar were set on fire.

Both bars were licensed by the government.

The attacks on hindu businesses and the news of fundamentalist forces sneaking into the district have caused panic among the minority hindu population. People believe the recent incidents of veiled threats and attacks on businesses are preplanned economic aggression to dismantle hindu business establishments, create panic and causing a ‘talibanization’ of the area.

District Administration Fails To Take Action

A more alarming signal for the people is the distracted administration’s reluctance to take action against the people who attacked the bars. No arrests have been made and the inaction of the district administration to arrest the perpetrators sends a very bad signal.

This has given rise to the fear of more attacks on hindu-owned business establishments as the authorities continue to play the role of “dumb watcher.” The exodus of the minority hindu community from the minority populated areas of the district continued for the sixth day today.

It is estimated that prior to the exodus, the population of this area was around 80% muslim and 20% hindu.

This morning, a high level home ministry team from Delhi, headed by R. K. Srivastav, landed in the Dhubri district Panbari BSF camp, by helicopter. They visited a number of relief camps, reviewed the camp security measures and held discussions with them, about a return to their homes. They also had discussions with district administrative officials and lower Assam commissioner regarding the security situation in Kokrajhar, Chirang and Dhubri districts.

Shib Shankar Chatterjee is a former BBC, The Times of India, Hindustan Times, The Statesman & The Telegraph Contributor-cum-Correspondent from Northeast India, who specializes in investigations of important issues affecting the people of South Asia, specially, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan & Myanmar.