Memorandum Calls for End of Communal Clashes in Assam

On 23rd July, 2012, a memorandum was submitted to The Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh, Home Minister of India, P. Chidambaram, Governor of Indian State, Assam and Chief Minister of Indian State, 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 (BTADC) and other parts of Indian State, Assam, by Anju Jidung, Vice President, Chiranjib Daolaguphu, Executive Member and Ranjit Baro, Mithinga Goyari, Members of Borosa Foundation for Peace, Democracy & Human Rights (BFPDHR).

In that memorandum, where they urged to the Indian administration and mentioned, “The recent ethnic conflicts are unfortunate incidents. The on-going communal clashes between the simple, straight forward and peace loving Boro Indigenous People and hostile migrant settlers belonging to religious Muslim Community that provoked and aided by miscreants across the India-Bangladesh international border was erupting in the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) and other parts of the Eastern Indian State, Assam.

NDFB P Press
The Press Release of the National Democratic Front of Boroland (Progressive), shortly say, NDFB(P) about the recent ethnic conflict happened in Indian State, Assam. PicShib Shankar Chatterjee

This incident broke out suddenly and took on a communal color, following the gruesome murders of four Boro indigenous youths by some unidentified miscreants belonging to Muslim Community at Jaipur village under Kokrajhar Police Station of Kokrajhar District of Assam State, on 19th July, 2012 at around 20:00-hours. It was reportedly instigated by some armed anti-social elements, who penetrated from other parts of BTC and took shelter in the Muslim dominated villages to deliberately create social tension inciting for communal violence between the native Boros and the migrant shelters.”

The organization further stated in their memorandum, “The situation had turned out to be very serious and worsening day by day spreading in other parts of Assam State, which had already claimed more than 40-44 innocent lives belonging to both communities. Several villages were burnt down and more than 2-lakhs were rendered homeless, who were presently taking shelter in more than 125 relief camps after being forced to flee their homes for their lives.

The present situation appeared to be out of control as the incidents of violence are rather growing more than being brought under control due to lack of adequate security arrangements and total failure of the local administration to tackle the situation effectively.”

The leaders of the organisation also affirmed, “They strongly felt that the outbreak of that on-going violence was mainly due to a deep socio-political conspiracy hatched by certain anti-social elements, who had been conspiring to divide the people in BTADC areas in community lines and to incite for communal violence to destabilise the emotional integration, peace and tranquility among the different sections of the people living in the present BTADC areas.”

The oraganistaion even cited in their letter, “Most important thing was that the formation of so called democratic organization by name and style of Ana Boro Suraskya Samity (Non Boro Protection Forum) and it’s activities in connivance with its communal member organizations like All Assam Minority Students’ Union (AAMSU) and All Bodoland Minority Students’ Union (ABMSU) had been systematically propagating and instigating all the communal forces to isolate the peace loving Boro indigenous people and were directing them to target and attack the Boros in the BTADC areas. The AAMSU and ABMSU had been carrying out hatred campaigns against the Boros, which was most unfortunate, condemnable and against the human rights of the ethnic Boro People.

Boro Indigenous People (BIP) had been living in peace for more than 5,000 years in their land and territories with other ethnic communities and clans like Garo, Rabha, Rajbongshi, Barman-Kachari, Tiwa, Karbi and many other natives with perfect peace and harmony. But, today, it is a serious concern for peace loving BIP of Assam State to witness the unabated formation and growing of such communal organizations with their ugly intention of fueling social tension, which is against the spirit of a plural society and threat to the unity, peace and tranquility.”

The members of the BFPDHR also pointed out in their memorandum, “We also strongly feel that the present situation is compounded due to an evil design and a systematic deep political conspiracy of certain anti tribal elements not only to defunct the present BTC administration but also to sabotage the on-going forty five years peaceful, democratic movement of the BIP for separate state of Boroland and to derail the on-going peace dialoged between the national Democratic Front of Bodoland (Progressive), [NDFB (P)] and the Government of India.

Therefore, we would like to affirm to you that the ongoing communal clash is nothing but a direct result of the conspiracy and provocation of the communal forces who have stooped so low as to create a serious law and order situation and subsequent communal clashes threatening the lives and properties of the common peoples living in the BTADC areas. And this is why, our organisation on behalf of the peace loving BIP of Assam State strongly urge to the Government of India to urgently intervene in the matters, with these noted points:

a) Stop the burning situation of communal clashes immediately,

b) Arrest the culprits involved in fomenting the communal clashes and

c) Order a CBI inquiry to investigate the whole matters leading to communal violence,

d) provide adequate security arrangement in sensitive areas and to provide immediate sufficient relief materials including food, drinking water, clothes and medicines in the relief camps of communal clashes belonging to both the communities and

e) Provide adequate compensation to the bereaved families and injured victims of communal clashes.”

The pro-talk faction of one of the militant groups of eastern Indian State, Assam – which renamed themselves National Democratic Front of Boroland (Progressive), [NDFB(P)] and is on peace process for the last six years is in dialogue with the Government of India on the issue of a separate state.

on July 26th, 2012, a press release (See in Box Picture) outlining the violence, where they mentioned, “We are deeply concerned with the grievous killing and arson in Kokrajhar, Chirang, Bongaigaon and Dhubri districts of Indian State, Assam, where the people of the two communities have been victimized of human tragedies and we condemn the incidence in which numbers of innocent people have been killed and thousands have been thrown into homelessness. This kind of communal clash does not bring forth any good to the society. We urge upon the people of all the communities to keep restraint and tolerance for peace and harmony of the society and the region.”

In their press notes, duly signed by S. Sanjarang, the information and publicity secretary, NDFB(P), revealed, “Some agents of the Indian Assam State Government have from time to time been hatching conspiracy to crush the very identity of the sons of the soil by instigating one community against the other.

The ongoing clash is a part of it. The Boro race people, the sons of the soil have every right to live with their distinct identity in their inherited land and for this, they are struggling to demand a separate state. Their struggle is against the government of India. Their movement is peaceful and democratic, which is legitimate and constitutionally justified. The Boro people have no ill feelings against any other communities; rather they want to live in peace and mutual understanding with equal rights and equal status.”

The militant organization, which are in a peace process with the Indian Government of Assam State also said and indicated, “The Indian Assam State Government is seen to be biased even in this crying need – biased in distribution of relief and in deployment of Indian Army and Indian Para-military Forces. The affected Boro people, who are handling in the relief camps have been given nothing in the name of relief even after the sixth day of the conflict. The Boro village in vulnerable areas is still off guard to be attacked by the miscreants.

The Indian Assam State Chief Minister, Tarun Gogoi has totally failed to save the lives and properties of the citizens. Due to insincerity, indecisive and cowardly act of the state government takes thousands of lives and destroy the lifeline of the BTADC areas. We appeal the organizations and all sections of the peoples of various communities to refrain from all kinds of destructive activities and also conscience and reason to rule the roost.”

The organization also said in their press note, which they gave to the media through which the organization demanded to the Indian Central Government, “We also urge the Indian Central Government’s direct intervention into the matter by deploying adequate military and para-military forces in every nook and corner of the sensitive areas to provide adequate relief and rehabilitation to the affected people, to provide adequate compensation to the bereaved families and the injured persons, to impose the president’s rule in the Assam State for confidence building among the people of different communities with effective and efficient administration because the people have lost confidence in the present Indian Assam State Government and to take drastic action on the miscreants involved in the clash to contain the situation.”

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.