Sir — Assam is witnessing clashes between a minority community and the Bodo people (“Violence kills 9 in BTAD areas”, July 22). The situation is turning tumultuous and commoners are being forced to seek refuge in relief camps. Such incidents occur frequently, causing death and destruction, but the state government has never been particularly eager to solve the problem of illegal immigration. Years ago, the All Assam Students’ Union had demanded an Assam free of illegal immigrants. Now, the All Bodo Students’ Union is reinforcing that demand. They fear that their proposed Bodoland will be overrun by non-Bodos and that immigrant minorities will take over their livelihoods and administration. They want the government to seal the porous borders between Bangladesh and India. If the terms of the Assam accord are anything to go by, the borders should have been fenced long ago.
The government’s negligence has been wreaking havoc in the region. The Bodo people are usually peace loving, but insurgent groups like the National Democratic Front of Bodoland and the Bodo Liberation Tigers are goading the Bodo youth towards violence and arson. The immigrants are following the same path. Faith in humanity is lost in bloodshed. In spite of the Centre’s interactions with the state government, the situation is turning grave. The Bodos want a swift redressal of their grievances. But murder and chaos will not solve the problem of illegal immigration; the undemocratic attitude of the Bodos will only cause further destruction. The Central government has washed its hands of the problem by deploying army troops in the troubled areas. But if the situation worsens further, president’s rule should be imposed in Assam. Only that can check the deteriorating state of law and order in the state.
A.K. Chakraborty, Guwahati
Sir — The Bodoland Territorial Council region has a history of communal clashes, and so the latest flare-up is not surprising. More than 40 lives have been lost and nearly 1.7 lakh people displaced. The state government failed to respond effectively to the situation as the clashes between the Bodos and a large immigrant Muslim population from Bangladesh — who now form a sizeable minority in the region — went out of control. These clashes have spread to the neighbouring districts and the geographical location of Kokrajhar threatens to give the unrest a more ominous colour. Kokrajhar, after all, is the landlocked Northeast’s narrow passage to the rest of India through the “chicken’s neck”. If the riots had been anticipated and adequate security provided at the first sign of trouble, the Northeast would not have been cut off from the rest of India.
J.S. Acharya, Hyderabad
Sir — The ethnic clashes in Assam have brought life in the state to a grinding halt. The violence between the two ethnic groups was so intense that many have lost their lives and many more have been rendered homeless.The miscreants have torched houses and damaged property, and shoot-at-sight police firings have added to the death toll. The disruption of railway services has caused much inconvenience to commuters. The violence has not ended despite the curfew imposed by the administration.
Tarun Gogoi, the chief minister of Assam, is only good at rhetoric. He failed to control the turmoil. His attitude recalls his conduct during the recent floods in the state, when he was busy touring overseas. Assam has been cut off from the rest of the country, and the Centre has been unable to alleviate the misery of the homeless stuck in relief camps. The army was deployed late, only when the situation was going from bad to worse.
The unrest has been triggered off by illegal immigration. This issue has not been dealt with because of the lack of coordination between the state government and the Centre. The situation in Assam is bound to create a rift in the state, and possibly also cause trouble in Bangladesh. The state government must ensure peace and normalcy in the troubled areas so that the people can start afresh. The lawlessness and bloodshed must end.
Janga Bahadur Sunuwar, Bagrakote, Jalpaiguri
In the editorial, “Ugly words” (July 30), Chiranjeet Chakraborty is mentioned as Chiranjeet Chatterjee. The error is regretted.
— The Editor