The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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NRIs deplore xenophobia

Guwahati, Nov. 22: Distance has not diminished their concern or lessened their distress over the events back home.

From across the seven seas, non-resident Assamese have “virtually” united in calling for an immediate end to the “xenophobic horror” that is threatening to rip apart their homeland.

United in sorrow and angst over the killings of Hindi-speaking Bihari people in Assam, these NRIs from around the world are using the website Assamnet to denounce the “madness” and “xenophobia” that are giving the state a bad name and also driving prospective investors away.

The offensive against Hindi-speaking Biharis was in retaliation to the attacks on train passengers from the Northeast in Bihar.

Assamnet is a cyber discussion forum of Assamese people from all around the world.

Expressing deep sadness, Deepjyoti Kakati wrote at the forum that “the latent xenophobia has come to the surface. It has also been extended from Biharis to anyone speaking Hindi. It is ‘extreme xenophobia’ time now, in just about anywhere in the Northeast.”

He also wrote that it is unfortunate that this is happening alongside raging Karbi-Khasi clashes, a Reang- Mizo war and Dimasa-Hmar hostilities.

“It is a wonder that when security is the main issue in the region, the people are suffering from acute insecurities,” Kakati added.

Terming the violence as the “limits of unreason”, Chan Mahanta added that he was nevertheless glad that senior citizens as well as school students had spoken out against the violence.

“Do you think Assam could export a few of these people to places like Gujarat or Mumbai'” he asked.

Echoing his views, Ram Dhar wrote that it was “disgusting” to see a handful of “goondas” in Bihar and goons in Assam creating a situation whereby fellow Indians are going through an ordeal just because they speak Hindi or Assamese.

He blamed the “slackness” of both the Assam and Bihar administrations in containing the initial violence for the escalation that is now taking a toll on the age-old brotherhood between the two communities.

Continuing the discussion, Rajib Das said it was the Ulfa’s grand design to “create an economic vacuum” by chasing the Biharis out of the state, which Bangladeshis would fill.

“Is it like a repayment of a debt to the Bangladeshi government at whose generosity leaders of the gang reportedly live a life of luxury' Just as Pakistani terrorists want Kashmir to be annexed into Pakistan, does the Ulfa want Assam to be annexed by Bangladesh'” he asked.

On learning about the outbreak of violence, non-resident Assamese people have also been calling up their Bihari friends or sending e-mails.

A touching e-mail from a school friend, who now lives in the US, asked her Bihari friend living in the city, “Are you doing okay' Please, please let not hatred touch our lives ever.”

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