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Assam: The dangerous playground

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In an unfortunate incident, five people were murdered in Assam’s Tinsukia on Thursday evening by unidentified gunmen. Shyamlal Biswas, Ananta Biswas, Abhinash Biswas, Subodh Das, and Dhananjay Namashudra were picked up from a shop, taken to the banks of Brahmaputra River, and were shot dead. As the news broke out, many media houses and politicians said that it was the ULFA, which executed these killings. It took no time for politicians like Mamata Banerjee, other TMC leaders, and anti-BJP/anti-NRC lobbyists to call it murder of five ethnic Bengali Hindus by ULFA.

“We strongly condemn the brutal attack in Tinsukia and the killing of Shyamlal Biswas, Ananta Biswas, Abhinash Biswas, Subodh Das, and Dhananjay Namashudra. Is this the outcome of recent NRC development? We have no words to express our deep sorrow to the grieving families. The perpetrators must be punished at the very earliest,” she tweeted.

We saw many such tweets and statements coming out to blame the NRC process and create hatred amongst the Assamese speaking Hindus and Bengali speaking Hindus. Now, in my opinion, there is a background and hidden agenda behind it.

The background goes back to the creation of Bangladesh and Indo-Pak conflict when lacks of Bangladeshis crossed the borders and entered India as refugees. Many of them never went back and settled. Post that, for years Bangladeshis have been entering India as illegal immigrants and are settling in different parts of the country. It is to be noted that the majority of them are Bengali speaking Muslims. They settled across the country and they can be seen in large numbers in parts of Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and many other cities. But the worst affected parts are in West Bengal, Assam, and Jharkhand as it was easy to get settled due to their language. These illegal immigrants later managed to get Voter Cards, Aadhaar Cards, Ration Cards, land, and other documents and were permanently settled in many parts of Assam and West Bengal with the support of the political dispensation. In fact, in many districts, they became the majority and the local ethnic residents became a minority. This created insurgency and a large movement in Assam as the ethnic Assamese people found it to become their identity issue. In fact, in many districts, no one speaks Assamese today. At the same time, there is a large number of ethnic Bengali Hindus from West Bengal who also resides in Assam for generations. Now here is the larger game that comes into the picture.

These illegal Muslim immigrants were settled in a systematic way as the vote banks. For years it is said that they have been a large vote bank of Congress and later of UDF, whose many leaders are said to be Bangladeshis. In West Bengal, they have been the vote banks of the Left front for years. When Mamata Banerjee started her own party TMC, she was dead against these Bangladeshi Muslim immigrants as they were the vote banks of the Left. She used to raise this issue everywhere and was demanding for their identification and deportation. She even once threw papers in Lok Sabha on the Chair protesting on the same issue. But later she understood that this vote bank is very large and she can’t win West Bengal without their support and Mamata defeated the Left in this game by appeasing this vote bank, which resulted in Mamata coming into the power. Now since it’s her vote bank and they are the core voters, it’s in her interest to protect their interest.

The Congress party that majorly ruled Assam all these years at the time of Rajiv Gandhi, had to face the brunt of the local Assamese people’s anger on this issue and insurgency. This resulted in the signing of Assam accord by Rajiv Gandhi to end the insurgency and start the peace process. It was promised to the locals of Assam that an NRC will be prepared, illegal immigrants will be identified and will be removed from the voter list and deportation process will be started to protect the interest of all ethnic Assamese and local Bengali speaking population. But the successive Congress government never kept these promises.

When BJP started its journey towards the expansion in Northeast and West Bengal, they raised the issue of illegal immigrants very strongly as they knew if this becomes the core political issue, they can have a success which actually worked. BJP came into power in Assam and they’re slowly growing in Bengal too.

After coming to the power, BJP initiated the NRC process, which left Mamata, and Congress red-faced as if at all implemented, this is going to hurt the most politically. The irony is that the NRC issue, that was once signed by Rajiv Gandhi and demanded by Mamata, was hijacked by BJP.

The Supreme Court of India is monitoring the NRC process as the demand for the same was made in the SC. The first draft has come. Since it’s a draft the NRC itself has said that there would be many errors in it and those will be rectified. There are many genuine cases where the names have not been included into it and the NRC has given various options to get it rectified. There are many people who are the residents of India but basically are not from Assam. The confirmation has been sought from the respective State Governments from where they belong (Please note that West Bengal has the worst performance in this process). But at the same time, there are many illegal immigrants who have been left out. Now, what these political forces would do to protect their core vote bank? Mamata once said in election rallies – “Let me see who can touch one single Bangladeshi till the time I’m here. But that won’t work as it’s a constitutional process under the supervision of the Supreme Court.” So the playground has been set to position local Assamese people against the local Bengali speaking people and Mamata is championing the game since the first draft came. She protested in West Bengal, sent her leaders to Assam who tried to create a ruckus over there and incited violence. But she failed.

After Thursday’s killings, it was immediately positioned as the killing of Bengali speaking Hindus by the ULFA. But lately, the ULFA issued a statement denying its hand and a probe is already on to ascertain the motive and people behind it. But, someone needs to jump the gun and exploit the deaths — incite violence, make Assamese and Bengalis fight, divert the issue, and protect the illegal Bangladeshi Muslim vote bank! Well played dear politicians! For you, National interest and National security come later and vote bank at first. God save my country and Assam!


By Vikas Kumar


(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of AFTERNOON VOICE and AFTERNOON VOICE does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)

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