The recent bout of violence in Assam has left about 77 persons dead and nearly 4 lakh people displaced. These incidents of clashes between two communities have again brought a recurring question to the forefront: Do the various communities and ethnic groups in Assam still do not trust each other? Are the people so weak that a little instigation from “external forces” leads them to slaughter people from other communities? Yes, it is true that illegal migration from our neighbouring country is changing our demography and putting pressure on the land resources of our region. But is killing people a solution to that problem? No, it can never be a problem. Violence can lead only to more violence and there will always be some forces to take advantage of this violence.
Sadly, in the violence-hit areas, proper steps are yet to be taken for resolution of the conflict. The people living in the relief camps are yet apprehensive about returning to their homes. Fear still lingers in the minds of the people. The need of the hour for the administration is to arrange meetings between representatives from the clashing communities and bridge the trust deficit between the two communities. Till now no steps have been taken in this regard and in the meantime, violence is spreading to new areas.
We have an accord signed 27 years ago which promised to deport illegal migrants from our country. But sadly the accord is yet to be fully implemented. Successive governments has only played politics with the issue and never showed any real will to implement the clauses of the accord. If the accord was implemented, today’s problem would not have arisen at all.
At present, the immediate response of the government should be to arrange meetings between representatives of both the clashing communities. The administration should see that rumours do not spread in the violence-hit areas. Such rumours make the situation far worse. People should also verify the facts before being taken in by the rumours. The process of implementing the clauses of the Assam Accord needs to be expedited and periodic review of the same should be done. The Foreigner’s Tribunal in the state is facing shortage of judges and also a lot of cases are pending in front of it. This issue needs to be addressed quickly. Also many detected foreigners have not been deported because of the Bangladesh government not taking them back. Diplomatic talks at high level have to be taken by the Indian and Bangladesh government in order to resolve this issue.
Assam had been witnessing a relative period of calm after the ceasefire of many major insurgent groups of the state. But with these fresh incidents of violence, the peace has again broken down. We hope that such incidents stop soon and good sense prevail among the people. After all this is our state, our country and we want it to be peaceful and developed.