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When after the year 2012, the region of BTAD (Bodo Territorial Area District) in Assam was returning to peaceful atmosphere to some extent, exactly at that time unfortunate genocide took place on the 1st and the 2nd May, 2014. In the recent events only the people of Muslim Community were attacked and wounded and, necessarily as a result, some section of the society called it a communal trouble. It does not reveal the true aspect of the society. What has happened in the result of continued dissatisfaction, inefficiency and neglect of longer days? The seeds sowed in the area of BTAD have been alive in the roots to grow in life and endeavour to provide the same bulk of harvest. The incident at once dreadens the instinct of the thought of perception and equals it with ealously, murder and exhaustion of the pulp of life.

Behind this tumult lies the lack of foresight of the centre, the state and the leaders of local polity who have thrust BTAD in the extreme critical stage. Distress of BTAD reaches ultimate finale because of procrastination of depiction of decision, immoral diversion of understanding in order to have absolute control of the state power, power of authority to direct violence, corruption and contraction of the social and cultural environment, undertaking of no firm step to drive out the unemployment problems, paying no heed and much importance to the spread of education with its deepening disorder.

The victim family members breaking their  4 days fast 
The victim family members breaking their  4 days fast
With trauma affected child who has lost his mother in Balapara village, Kokrajhar
With trauma affected child who has lost his mother in Balapara village, Kokrajhar

BTAD is primarily an agricultural area. Leaving aside the tea gardens, many farming lands and on the other hand, the underdevelopment of small and cottage industries without the absence of great ones have brought about the disaster of the unemployment problem. The outcome of the affair shows the youthful society to become the victim of disappointment and desolation. The youths have thought very easily of unfruitful fortune and taken up the weapons in order to deal with ultimate and violent path-finders. To broaden the ways of easy income they fell to acquire dishonest ways to earn money on the use of crackers, kidnapping and guns. Then an attraction happens in the midst of themselves in their dishonest means of earning and, as a result, a new group comes out to have a new outlook. The life of the common people is at the last gasp in the pat-trap. The people of Bodo community are averse to labour because of their weariness and fatigue.  In consequence Non-Bodo Community (Biharees, Bengalees, Jharkhandees, Maroaries, Assamese etc.) have dominance in cultivation, industry and business and naturally became a target of the evil-doers. Specially, the Bengali Muslims are largely victims in this situation. But at a certain time the people of the Bodo Community gave shelter to the ancestors of the Bengali Muslims. But the people of the Bodo Community thought them to be emigrants in their soil as a result of the increase of the race of Bengali Muslims on their entrance. And the clash starts out of this thought from the year 2012. In 2012 this clash breaks out on some primary demands to spread all around. Things are:

a)      Demand of a separate state for the Bodos.

b)      Demand for driving out the foreigners, specially the Bengali Muslims.

c)      Demand to drive out the foreigners.

d)      Demand to retrieve lands from the hands of the illegal residents in the districts of BTAD.

But not even a single issue of their demands has been heard on the community genocide this time. Naturally, a question echoes as to why such an incident happens? Have these issues come to an end or otherwise? 

It will be a great error to hold that the demonstrators have stayed away from their demands. On the other hand it can be suggested that the emergence of Telengana and the decision of the Central Government on the construction of Simandhra have awakened the demand of Bodoland State. For some practical reasons strategically some groups have remained silent.

a)      Waiting for the opinion of the Committee form on the construction of a separate state of Bodoland.

b)      Crossing the river of voting to earn the faith of all the communities in the General Election.

It should be remembered that if the groups  run away from the main fundamental demand of Bodoland, it will lose the confidence of the Bodo Community and, as a result, the existence of those groups will be in great danger.

Sharing experience of peace work among the students of Gujarat Vidyapith 
Sharing experience of peace work among the students of
Gujarat Vidyapith
Peace Rally
Peace Rally

The groups behind the demand of Bodoland are Bodo Liberation Tiger (BLT), Bodo Peoples’ Front (BPF), Bodo Peoples’ Progressive Front (BPPF), All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) & National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB). Among them the two extreme terrible groups are BLT and NDFB. The aim of these two groups of association is distinctly separate. BLT wants a separate state of Bodoland, NDFB demands Bodoland as a separate independent country. After the creation of Bodo Territorial Council (BTC) many of the groups associated with BLT transfer themselves to BPF. On the other hand BPPF and ABSU like to have the demands of Bodoland state through the peaceful demonstration of the people.

What happened to the recent Election of the Parliament is struggle of the interest of Bodo association. All the calculation changed because of cleverness of the skill of unity in the Non-Bodo community against the apparent disunity of the other groups. As there was a lack of unity among the aspiring leaders, individuals reveal themselves as a separate candidate in the election contest. Sri Chandan Brahma, a minister of the state, standing in support of BPF, Sri Ranjit Shekhar Mushahari, an ex-Governor of Meghalaya, standing as a candidate of Trinamul Congress, Sri S. K. Basumatary, last member of the Parliament, as an independent candidate, Sri U. G. Brahma, ex-member of the Assembly, as a candidate of BPPF in support of ABSU, as candidates of importance. As a result the votes of Bodo are divided and, on the other hand, the ‘Sammilita Janagosthir Oikya Samiti’ (Associated Unity Organization of the people has unified all the people of Non-Bodo community in a single group) nominated Sri Naba (Hira) Kumar Sarnia, an ex-ULFA leader, as independent candidate. The result shows the impossible to be possible. But nobody had to wait for the certainty of the triumph of Sri Hira Sarania in the result of the election. Consequently some terrible single group or more came to be associated with horrible genocide to have the control of the Bodoland movement. There are various purposes behind this horrifying genocide: 

a)      To create fear and sense of danger in Muslim Community.

b)      To bring about a crevice in the non-Bodo move in way of assaulting the Muslims.

c)      To revive the issue of Bangladeshi in the future.

d)      To create a sense of danger with the occupants of the Bodo area and to force them away from their residence.

Before election BTAD was gradually moving towards plight of circumstances of election poured water in efforts of the people to move them. In that particular month of time there was a finger of an indication of NDFB (Songbijit) group behind the genocide. Whoever might have been involved in the incident, I came to understand in my movement in the surrounding districts that a sense of insecurity, distrust and fear is assuming a form in the minds of the people. The people are being divided into two divisions so fast that the thought of rapid movement of the situation has awakened sense of fear and danger in the minds of men. 

I had conversation with some people in the village of Nadiapara in Chirang district. People of Bodo community only residing there. In the context of bringing about peace and calmness in this area Kamalakant, a middle aged man, said, “Those Muslim people will not change over to progress of peace” I raised a question, “If there is a lack of peace and tranquility and the villagers are in the grasp of attack and violent attempt to hurt, what will emerge in this circumstance?” Answer came in response to a question, “Security Army (Force) should be strengthened to force power to control”. Again a question arises, “In the case of hundreds and hundreds of villagers falling a prey to the terrible sway, how much will the security Army (Force) be enforced to act in the proper way? Apart from it, the soldiers of the Security Army will stay for a limited time. And what will happen then? Moreover, the Muslims have spoken on their behalf of the Bodos not to come to the world of peace and harmony.” But there were none to respond. The driver of our car, Sri Chakradhar Nath living in the village Bhatipara in the district of Kokrajhar, said to all in wonder, “Weapon against weapon is not enough. Peace comes out of proper understanding. Blood against blood does not bring about peace.” 

All together appeared to move their shoulders in acceptance of the remark, but no answer was open and distinctly clear. On return I asked Chakradhar, the car-driver, “How have you got about this sense?” He said, “You are unable to recognize me. About a year ago I stood on my feet and listened to what you said in a meeting in Bhatipara. I was much pleased with what I heard. What you said, I think, is the way of peace.” He began to speak about a religious fundamentalist group organized a meeting seven or eight months ago. They emphasized on hot communal instigation during the meeting. At last on the proposal of forming a committee there was no progress of discussion after Chakradhar along with others put up strong protest against the approach.

All community peace meeting in a village of Kokrajhar 
All community peace meeting in a village of Kokrajhar
The team along with students of different communities met Hon’ble Governor of Assam, Sri J.B. Patnaik
The team along with students of different communities met Hon’ble Governor of Assam, Sri J.B. Patnaik 

In reality circumstances of today have blossomed out because of miscalculation. This the situation has moved from complex to more complexe, vicious and malicious condition to suggest that all the Muslims speaking in Bengali language are the ‘illegal Bangladeshi immigrants’. Most of the agitators are failed to distinguish between legal Muslim residents and the illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. As a result the situation of the Muslims from East Bengal or East Pakistan to be at par equaled with other Muslims after the construction of Bangladesh as an independent country suggests not only an erroneous fault, but also an injudicious, violent and unjust understanding. Along with it in the BTAD area people of minority community residing as Adivasi, Kotch Rajbangshi, Kaibarta, Biharees, Nepalees, Jharkhandies, Hindu Bengalees are not in a state of conformity with the Assamese and consequently the relation does not grow well. The reciprocal relation becomes embittered spreading far and wide. But the customs, beliefs, art, literature, music etc. of some of the people of the Bodo Community in communication with others show them not to be so violent and atrocious in their way of life.

To re-establish faith, confidence, trust, dependence, good conduct, unity, integration, and the desire of peace in the midst of perishability among the various committees in their mutual intercourses is the foundation of reciprocal and lively activity. In this atmosphere an attempt is made to move for Gandhi Peace Foundation, Sarva Seva Sangh, Gujarat Vidyapith and other gandhian organizations to create a world of peace and active life. A sign of fundamental change appeared on the way. In the last about 2 years’ of activities performed gradually in the name of ‘Assam Shantiyatra’ runs as follows:  

1.      To establish relation among the people of all communities.

2.      To welcome peace, hope and friendship after intimate and homely sitting and later on in the meeting of people.

3.      To have conversation of various personalities beginning from the Hon’ble Governor to different political leaders, intelligent leaders of different unions and responsible figures of administration.

4.      To hold a meeting of peace in different areas after communication with ‘Gaonburas’ (village head) of the surrounding villages.

5.      To proclaim a call of peace among the teachers and students of the schools, colleges and various educational institutions.

6.      To organize camps for the students and the youths.

7.      To organize expouser in the name of “Shanti Sadbhabna Yatra” with the selected students of the camps.

8.      To inspire people of all communities to arrange meeting for peace on participation of the students in ‘Shanti Sadbhabna Yatra ‘in their individual area.

9.      To form ‘Peace Committee’ with the representation of the different communities, ‘Gaonburas’ of the villages and the representatives of administration.

Today on 31st May, 2014, the security arrangement has been strengthened in different regions. Sometimes some rumors are heard. A suppressed excitement, fear and panic are in the move in the minds of people. The condition in the area of BTAD is somewhat like what happens to be apparently standstill before a violent storm in nature. I am unable to suggest that the recurrence of murder and conflict will not affect the people in the course of my experience in the last two years. I express my sense of sorrowness in this condition. But we must pray that the storm in human life may move away before it starts to flow. I do not know what Gandhiji would have done at this situation. I think of a tiny glow-worm to move on the way of progress of life in deep darkness. Haven’t we to move along with our humble strength of the sparkle of the glow-worm giving out a green light at its tail to produce warm colour of enthusiasm for peaceful existence? In the prophetic words of Percy Bysshe Shelley.  I like to

“Drive my dead thoughts over the universe

Like withered leaves to quicker a new birth”

On the

“The trumpet of a prophecy ‘O Wind,

If winter comes, can spring be far behind?”

Chandan Pal
 +91 9433022020

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