Tag Archives: Assam

Isn’t ‘Illegal Bangladeshi’ Racist Shorthand for Bengali Speaking Muslims in Assam? Bonojit Hussain

Guest post by Bonojit Hussain

The fragile and unstable peace in Bodoland Territorial Autonomous Districts (BTAD) of Assam has once again been ruptured. The recent massacre of Muslims of East Bengali descent in Kokrajhar and Baksa districts of BTAD on 1st and 2nd May has already taken toll on 46 lives; with many people still missing, the dead count might go up.

This is not the first time that targeted ethnic violence has occurred in what is today BTAD. Through out the 1990’s armed Bodo groups have indulged in pogroms against Nepalis, Adivasis and Muslims and Hindus of East Bengali descent. But since the creation of BTAD in 2003, increasingly only Muslims of East Bengali descent are being targeted. Worst among all was the so-called ‘riots’ of 2012 where 108 people died. According to sources in Assam government, 79 were Muslims of East Bengali descent, 22 were Bodos and 4 were from other communities.

A lot has been written about the underlying causes of these recurring targeted killings and we need not dwell upon that here. (for an overview see Sanjib Barua, “Assam: The Politics of ElectoralViolence”, Outlook Magazine, May 09, 2014). What should bother us all is how quickly discourse over the recurring massacres in BTAD is transformed into a debate on the question of illegal immigration from Bangladesh, wherein the victims are immediately labeled as ‘illegal Bangladeshis’. Even if the victims were ‘illegal Bangladeshis’, the barbaric act of killing 46 people in a span of 36 hours is a crime against humanity. Continue reading Isn’t ‘Illegal Bangladeshi’ Racist Shorthand for Bengali Speaking Muslims in Assam? Bonojit Hussain

Attitudes towards Menstruation – Notes from Assam: Priyanka Chakrabarty

This is a Guest Post by PRIYANKA CHAKRABARTY 

GOOD NEWS, GOOD NEWS…They are blessed with a child! Oh, what child, boy or girl? This is the most common response that new parents will encounter, one that indicates what people find most interesting about a new birth. We examine its genital parts and then say, it is a boy or girl. During this time, the difference between male and female is only the biological difference of sex,  of the presence of the penis or the vagina. Gradually the child is ‘socialised’ (read normalised) into a ‘woman’ or a ‘man’.

One of the key aspects of a girl’s socialization is her introduction to the bodily process of menstruation. Superficially, and as a purely biological process, menstruation is the discharge of blood from the vagina. This is widely considered to be the ‘development’ of the female body and after the start of menstruation, a girl is believed to have attained womanhood –attained puberty. Continue reading Attitudes towards Menstruation – Notes from Assam: Priyanka Chakrabarty

Condemn the Gruesome Massacre in Bodoland (Assam) : Statement by New Socialist Initiative (NSI)

Text of a statement issued by New Socialist Initiative

New Delhi; 07/05/2014

New Socialist Initiative (NSI) strongly condemns the gruesome massacre of Bengali speaking Muslims in the Bodoland Territorial Autonomous Districts (BTAD) in Assam, which has witnessed the resurgence of the ugly head of ethnic violence. As per latest official reports, 38 people have been killed, the majority being women and children, while several have been injured and many are missing.

On the evening of 1st May at 7.30 pm, 8 armed Bodo youths riding on 4 bicycles entered a house in Narasinghbari village in Baksa District and fired gunshots. The next day (2nd May), allegedly 40 Bodo militants surrounded 77 houses in Narayanguri village in the same district and fired indiscriminately. Until now 30 dead bodies have been found. According to district administration 15 people are still missing, among them 12 children and 3 women. Simultaneously, in Balapara village in Kokrajhar district at around 12.30 am on 2nd May, armed Bodo youths killed 8 people. The survivors in Baksa district told that the death toll will substantially increase as the militants killed and threw the dead bodies into the Beki River that flows through the area. Continue reading Condemn the Gruesome Massacre in Bodoland (Assam) : Statement by New Socialist Initiative (NSI)

आत्मा से मुठभेड़ की चुनौती: अपूर्वानंद

इशरत जहाँ एक उन्नीस साल की लड़की थी जब वह मारी गई.शायद उसके बारे में इसके अलावा इस निश्चितता के साथ हम कुछ और कभी नहीं जान पाएंगे. इसकी वजह सिर्फ यह है कि जिन्हें इस देश में सच का पता लगाने का काम दिया गया है वे एक लंबे अरसे से झूठ को सच की तरह पेश करने का आसान रास्ता चुनने के आदी हो गए हैं. उनके इस मिथ्याचार पर कभी सवाल न खड़ा किया जा सके इसका सबसे अच्छा तरीका है राष्ट्र रक्षक की अपनी छवि का दुरुपयोग निस्संकोच करना. जो राष्ट्र की रक्षा करता है उसे उसकी रक्षा के लिए किसी को मात्र संदेह के आधार पर मार डालने का हक है, यह हमारे देश का सहज बोध है. सिर्फ अशिक्षितों का नहीं, उसने कहीं ज़्यादा राजनीति शास्त्र की किताबों से नागरिक अधिकारों का ज्ञान प्राप्त किए हुए स्नातकों का. उन सबका जिन्हें देश की जनता के पैसे से संविधान की हिफ़ाजत के लिए अलग-अलग काम सौंपे जाते हैं. और भी साफ़ कर लें, इन स्नातकों में भी उनका जो प्रशासनिक और पुलिस अधिकारी हैं, जासूसी के अलग-अलग महकमों से जुड़े ऑफिसर हैं, जिनकी असली पहचान कभी उजागर नहीं हो पाती. अगर दूसरे मुल्क में वे पकड़े जाएं तो वही देश उनसे हाथ धो लेता है जिसकी सुरक्षा में वे अपनी असली पहचान छिपाए फिरते हैं.

क्या कोई यह कहने की हिमाकत कर सकता है कि राष्ट्र-राज्य के खिलाफ साजिशें नहीं होतीं, कि राष्ट्र-विरोधी शक्तियों का अस्तित्व ही नहीं! यह बिलकुल अलग बात है कि राष्ट्र विरोधी का बिल्ला किन पर आसानी चस्पां किया जा सकता है और किन पर वह बिलकुल चिपकता ही नहीं. मसलन, इस्लामी राष्ट्र का तस्सवुर धर्मनिरपेक्ष भारतीय राष्ट्र के बिलकुल खिलाफ है, क्या इसके लिए किसी अतिरिक्त व्याख्या की आवश्यकता है? लेकिन यह समझना और समझाना टेढ़ी खीर है कि हिन्दू राष्ट्र की कल्पना भी उतनी ही राष्ट्रविरोधी है! आज से बीस साल पहले और आज भी   खालिस्तान का ख़याल इस्लामी राष्ट्र जितना ही राष्ट्र विरोधी माना जाता था. Continue reading आत्मा से मुठभेड़ की चुनौती: अपूर्वानंद

On the arrest of Nilim Dutta

The Times of India reports that Nilim Dutta has been arrested by the police in Assam on charges of financial fraud and impersonation. The Indian Express reports:

“While there are now six cases registered against him in Guwahati, what we have gathered is that the Delhi Police had also registered a case against him last year,” Assam DGP J N Choudhury told The Indian Express. [Link]

Dutta announced his own arrest on Twitter some days ago, claiming the police had assaulted his family and him, and so on.

I first discovered Nilim Dutta on Twitter in July or August last year. Bodo groups in Kokrajhar and other BTAD area of Assam had killed Muslims and driven them out, many of whom still live in refugee camps there, too afraid to go home. Intellectual cover to this pogrom was being given not only by the mainstream media but also in social media by Hindutva fanatics, with the excuse that all Mulims in Assam are illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. Dutta had been tweeting against this claim, and published a rebuttal to one such claim by a Bodo IAS officer in the Indian Express.

I thus invited Dutta to write a long piece for Kafila, which was published here on 16 August. “The Myth of the Bangladeshi” became a very popular piece, initiating many discusssions and disagreements in Assam, Delhi and elsewhere. Hindutva fanatics who were unsettled by Dutta’s excellent piece in Kafila and similar pieces elsewhere, and his appearance in TV channels and so on. Now that Dutta is arrested on charges of financial fraud, these people are saying on Twitter and elsewhere that this nullifies Dutta’s claims about Muslims/’Bangladeshis’ in Assam. Continue reading On the arrest of Nilim Dutta

Remembering Laxmi Orang and the Gender Question in Assam: Mayur Chetia and Bonojit Hussain

Guest post by MAYUR CHETIA AND BONOJIT HUSSAIN

The Delhi gangrape case has led to country-wide outrage, with young women and men still pouring out on to the streets to protest against the widespread culture of sexual violence. The outrage has not just stopped at Jantar Mantar, India Gate or university campuses; it has also led to a wave of intellectual reflection on the issue. For most protesters the demand for justice has not stopped with the Delhi gang rape victim, but has led to a demand for justice for all victims of sexual violence. These protesters have forced us to remember a litany of names that get buried by the TRP driven media and a public with a notoriously short attention span of memory. It is time to remember names that we are losing to public amnesia, names like Soni Sori, Manorama, Asiya and Neelofar. It is time we remember another forgotten name – Laxmi Orang.

 In the Interest of Remembering: Who is Laxmi Orang?

On 24th November 2007, Laxmi Orang, a young adivasi woman, was forcibly stripped naked, thrashed and paraded by a violent mob of “mainstream” Assamese [1] men. This took place just 100 meters away from State Legislative assembly, in the very heart of Guwahati, in the full glare of the media and police forces. As with her fellow protesters, it was her first trip to the city, the mythical land where the modern day Swargodeo’s [2] listen to their subjects, where appeals are heard, where miracles happen, where riches and wonders thrive. She had come to the city as participant of a protest organized by the All Adivasi Students’ Association Assam (AASAA) to demand Schedule Tribes status for the Adivasi community of Assam. Continue reading Remembering Laxmi Orang and the Gender Question in Assam: Mayur Chetia and Bonojit Hussain

Stop Shielding Criminals in the Army and Security Forces in Assam: Bondita and Anjuman

This press release was issued on 23 December by BONDITA and ANJUMAN of WING and WSS, Guwahati

Aggravated sexual violence in Guwahati in July 2012 and gang rape in Delhi this month have led to public outrage and anger, compelling the media and the government to take serious note of the rampant sexual violence against women.  Even as the current attention on sexual violence on women raises several questions over laws, their enforcement and policing, there continues to be absolute silence and complete denial about sexual violence by the Army and the Central Armed Police Forces. It is high time to review and repeal laws and practices that promise complete impunity to the armed forces for sexual assault in counter insurgency conflict areas. Continue reading Stop Shielding Criminals in the Army and Security Forces in Assam: Bondita and Anjuman