Assam is no longer a land of blue rivers and red hills. It has come to be associated with violence, fear, mass exodus and now chilling uncertainty about safety of life. Stray incidents of violence keep surfacing in the three of its violence affected districts despite efforts of the government. Worse, the situation in the Bodoland districts is threatening to take a pan-Indian communal colour. The flight of people from the North-East from Bangalore is a sad testimony to the disturbing reality.
"The exodus from other cities is happening mostly because of rumours. This has now become a question of national integration. If people from the East are not safe in the West or South and vice versa, what kind of a situation are we in?" president of All Assam Bodo Students' Union, Pramod Boro, told Firstpost from Guwahati. Boro made it clear that whatever happened in the three Assam districts—Kokrajhar, Chirang and Dhubri—did not affect anyone from outside.
"People who live here suffered, no matter who they are. Why is a fear psychosis being created in other states for no reason?" he said, expressing exasperation at the role of miscreants outside the state in the exodus from Bangalore. Boro also criticised the role of the Assam government, saying it needed to be more pro-active. "We have approached the state DGP (Jayanta Narayan Choudhury) urging him to take up the issue with his counterparts in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra," the ABSU president said.
Samujjal Bhattacharjee, advisor, All Assam Students' Union, also slammed the Assam government for its lethargy. "Why is this government slow in response? The government is sending ministerial teams to Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka on Friday. They should have been there yesterday," he said.
Both Boro and Bhattacharjee blamed All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), president, Badruddin Ajmal for not doing enough. "Ajmal always maintains that he loves Assam. Now is time for him to prove that. He should assure everyone about security. As a member of Parliament it is his responsibility," Boro said. Asked whether Ajmal was behind the current situation, he said, "I cannot say that directly. But in Dhubri recently Ajmal said that he would make this an all-India issue. What is not good is that he is using his religious network."
Bhattacharjee aired similar views. "Ajmal should come forward and clear things for everyone," he said, adding, "Because of his politics the North East community is suffering in the states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka."
Bhattacharjee also blamed the recurring conflicts on the non-implementation of the Assam Accord in letter and spirit.
"If the post-1971 migrants from Bangladesh leave Assam as per the provisions of the Assam Accord, everyone else can be rehabilitated. Further, we demand rehabilitation for all caste, creed and religion who were affected in the recent violence. Our condition is that the beneficiary must be a genuine Indian citizen," he said.
Both leaders, however, called for peace and calm and appealed to the members of the community not to believe in rumours, false text messages and posts on social networking sites such as Facebook.
There was also an appeal for peace from another important quarter. "Whatever happening in the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra is highly condemnable. It does not matter whether people are falling prey to rumours or there’s an actual thereat perception. What matters is our people are suffering far away from home and they are in a state of fear and insecurity," All Bodoland Minority Students' Union (ABMSU), president, Sultan Alam told Firstpost from Kokrajhar.
"I appeal for restraint to all sections. This is a time to strengthen our brotherhood," Alam said.