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Assam Riot: A report after visiting the relief camps


I was part of a five member team who visited the riot hit districts in Assam. Our intention was was to see by our own eyes the sufferings of the destitute people in the riot hit districts. Hundreds of thousands of Muslims have lost their homes. The plight of these people in the relief camps, the burnings in the riot hit areas, the Muslim gullies (streets) charred under the sectarian violence organized by the Bodo extremists, Assam is a unique land of sufferings today.
Communalism is the real reason behind the recent riots. Some of the media and the racist organizations are trying to brand these riots as a by-product of infiltration from Bangladesh. 

The riot was widely spread in four districts where Bodo tribal groups have influence and upper hand in all affairs. These areas are, sort of, controlled by Bodo liberalization tiger’s force. They are demanding self rule in these lands. They want to expel all except Bodos from these lands. Bodos claim that Muslims are not Assamese. According to them Muslims are infiltrates from the West Bengal and Bangladesh. So they demand the Muslims to leave the Bodo lands. According to them, Muslims do not have place in Bodo land. Where as this claim do not have any historical backing. Muslims are in Assam since 13th century. In 19th century British rulers brought Muslim workers from Bengal to the factories in Assam. The Muslims in Assam are the successors of these earlier Muslims. These Muslims have their root in this land for more than 150 years. These facts can be substantiated with historic proofs.

Kroknjan, Chirank, Udal Kuri and Bongaygav are the places where riot was hit in a very serious nature. The riot was spread like a fire on 19th of July. A communal turned murder was the root cause behind the start of the riot. It is the Muslims who lost everything due to the riot. In Assam 3,50,000 Muslims are driven out of their home today! Unofficial estimates are around 500,000. Today they stay in relief camps and refugee homes. It caused us great pain to see their situation in this holy month of Ramadan, without even getting food for breaking their fast!

Muslims are staying in around 250 camps. Most of these camps are Madrasas or Schools. None of these camps, where up to 4000 refugees are accommodated, have enough basic facilities. Food and dress are not available. While they ran to save their lives, they were not able to take medicines or dresses along with them. The camps do not have even basic medicines. Thousands are sharing one or two toilets in the camps! Central government has announced an emergency relief fund of 300crore. Only after this announcement the supplies of essential food supply to the camp were started.

We started to Assam as per the request from the members of Islahi movement. Even the rescue workers cannot guarantee a safe reach to the refugee camps. Even media persons can not access many places. We reached the camp with the help of a police escort vehicle. We went in a lorry loaded with food, dresses and other essential commodities. Our lorry got stoned while we passed through the Bodo controlled areas. However we reached the destination with the help of police. What we saw in the camp were lots of people forced to lead a hell like life. The plight of people who are fighting with diseases and sufferings can not be described.

The local police and authorities are cooperating well with the relief activities. When we told that we came from Kerala to visit the camp and to distribute essential commodities they offered all their support. They provided us with escort vehicles to lead us to relief camps.

We met with officials like Assam DGP Mr. J.N Choudhary, ADGP Mr. Chandranathan, Deputy Commissionar of Bhongaigav Mr. S.P Nandi and SP Mr. Nithul Gogoy. We also visited a Bodo refugee camp in Kajalgav School in Chirang. They have moved to the camp because of their proximity to a Muslim area and a potential retaliation from there.

Media is trying to project riot and ruthless killing by Bodo activists as an infiltration issue from Bangladesh. They are not trying to visit and report the sufferings in the camps to the outside world. The national media are not ready to analyse actual facts on Bangladesh infiltration or to expose the false claims of the Bodo extremists. The promoters of Hindutwa are also actively trying to utilize the situation in their favour.

The only lasting solution to the problem is the active involvement of the ruling authorities.
1.      The ongoing relief activities should be accelerated.
2.      Both central and state government should involve in the subject proactively.
3.      The Bodo land territory should be dissolved.
4.      The violators should be brought to the law immediately.
5.      All efforts should be made to safely repatriate the Muslim refugees back to their homes.

We can also do our part in support of the Muslim refugees in Assam.

1.      We can support and involve in the relief activities wholeheartedly.
2.      We can try to reach out and support the believers who are suffering without food, water and medicines.
3.      While we are planning to celebrate Eid, let us try to arrange at least one pair of dresses to the Assam refugees suffering without spare dresses in the relief camps.
4.      We can be a frontline fighter in the team efforts to give back normal life to the Assam Muslim Brothers, who are stranded.
5.      We can pray to Allah to protect the believers from further attacks.

Note: This is an independent approximate translation of the article by Dr. Hussain Madavoor in the Malayalam daily “Chandrika” dated 15th August 2012. 


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