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Communal tension brewing in Assam
Published on 19 Aug. 2008 11:56 PM IST
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Tension is brewing in Assam after clashes between Bodos and Bengali Muslims. According to, the Gogoi government has now issued shoot at sight orders in violence hit areas of Darrang, Udalguri and Sonitpur districts as tension spreads over the issue of illegal Bangladeshi migrants. Army has been asked to contain flareup. The cycle of violence started with a bandh called by Muslim organisations against alleged harassment on suspected illegal Bangladeshis. Fear have driven these people to refugee camps. Neighbouring villages who’ve lived together for decades are now sworn enemies. “This is Pakistan border from this point. It’s just these Bangladeshis till Mangaldoi,” one of the villagers said. “We can’t go to the fields to work, we are on vigil always against attacks. Our shops in the town have been destroyed,” another villager complains. Ethnic and communal clashes have been creating internally displaced people all across the state. The latest one is the clash between Bodos and immigrant Bengali Muslims. There are a number of factors that led to the clash - the one that sparked off is of course the renewed agitation against the immigrant Bengali Muslims but to identify this violence one must recognise the pressure on land and occupation. “They have taken 37 per cent of tribal land. And the government gave them pattas. Their population has gone up so much you can’t imagine,” Bodo resident Dr D K Ramshiary said. It’s an old divisive issue but this time the dynamics are different. If organisations like the AASU are carrying out raids against suspected Bangladeshis in Upper Assam, minority organisations are retaliating in other parts of the state. A violence that could easily spiral out of control.

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