HUMANITRIAN CRISIS IN ASSAM DEHUMANISED - By: Adv. Masood Peshimam

Mr. Kiran Rijju, a Junior Minister said that the Rohingayas living in India don’t have the status of the ‘refugees’ but are illegal migrants who would be deported once their details have been prepared.

It’s strange that the Government of India has not shown the sympathy though the fact remains that bulk of them have Indian origin as the Britishers in British India brought them to then Burma for the plantation. This fact can also be illustrated by the visit of the Khoja Muslims from then Burma to Karimabad, Bhendi Bazar, Mumbai. Some of these Burmese Khoja females were seen in typical Burmese lungees or dress as they were very much yielded to the Burmese ethos and culture. The present Rehingayas fled from Myanmar due to the grave persecution at the hands of the Myanmar army and the Government. The violence against the Rohingaya Muslims was so brutal that the awards and recognition conferred upon Aung Sui, the woman at the helm of affairs was withdrawn. From her approach it looked as if Aung Sui was rather silently reconciled to the brutal massacre of the Rohingayas. Her silence over the brutal massacre of the Rohingayas drew the ire and condemnation the world over. The world saw it as the humanitarian crisis. The people in the corridors of power in our Country have different logic to apply on the spectre of humanitarian crisis. They are treated as the threat to the security of the Country. How can the people compelled to live the sub human existence be expected to pose threat to the security of the Country. If at all there is any security threat that can well be crushed.
Mr. Rajju found their involment in the “illegal activities”. Due to some economic deprivation some of them may be involved in the allegedly illegal activities but some exceptional incidents cannot be thrust over all the people. It’s quite unfortunate that instead of showing the modicum of sympathy there are attempts to explore the shortcomings of the people subjected to the unimaginable atrocities.
While there is no shedding of tears for one set of people there is the move by the Government to accommodate the Hindus persecuted in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The Hindus persecuted in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh do deserve the strongest sympathy. But it’s not an isolated phenomena. In the complex situation in these countries even the Muslims are not spared. In Afghanistan every other day the worst terror attacks are made over Muslims. The violence against Muslims in Afghanistan by the extremists does not witness any let up. In Pakistan the situation is not any different. Even the children were not spared in the terrorist attack in Pakistan though there is some decline in Pakistan in the present circumstances. In Bangladesh also the liberals are not safe despite all tall talk by Hasina Wajid Government. The governments in these countries cannot escape their responsibility of providing the safety to the minorities from such hawkish stuff. Why only Government even the people in these counties are required to provide the security to the Hindu minorities. The people cannot shirk their responsibilities in showing concern and ensuring peace and safety to the Hindu minorities.
While the Government is ready to accommodate the Hindus persecuted in the said countries with the passage of the law but Muslims are excluded. Would that law not run contrary to the secular spirit of the Constitution? Would the approach of the present Government not contrast with the Article 15 of the Secular Constitution which enshrines the prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth?
While on one hand we have the open fold to the persecuted Hindus in the said countries our approach in Assam is different though the fact also remains that in Assam some people from then East Pakistan thronged to Assam in the search of shelter from barbaric brutality of the Pakistan army. We supported the refugees from the then East Pakistan who were subjected to the atrocities at the hands of Pakistan army. Our focus in showing the sympathy to refugees from then East Pakistan can be illustrated by the emotional outpouring of the poet and intellectual Harindranath Chattopaday who in Ismail Yusuf College in Mumbai was seen waxing all the eloquence in fostering bond between us and the vulnerable in then East Pakistan. His poem “Hamar Sonar Bongla” embodied the extreme fraternity and love between the people of our Bengal and the Bengalis from then East Pakistan.
However with the passage of time the scenario is changed and the same Bangladeshis once our darling are turned into the hated lot.
It is the same Bangladeshis who have become the bone of contention in Assam.
In Assam there was the fierce move to oust the Bangladeshis. The situation against the illegal migrants or even Indian non Assamese was so aggravated that the worst massacre of Muslim Bengalis took place in Nelly. The killing operation of the Muslims mainly women and children continued unabated for hours and hours together under the very nose of the so called secular administration which left the world stunned. It was one of the worst case of brutal massacre in the human history. The police was informed of the impending tragedy but it looked that the police allowed the gruesome tragedy to happen in Nelly. It redounds to the credit of a prominent journalist like Arun Shouri to bare the truth about the horrific grotesque loss of life. It was the efforts of the eminent journalist like Arun Shouri, that the gruesome tragedy came to light. The same Arun shourie turned to BJP and now he is found finding fault with the present BJP leadership. Such are the ways of Politics.
The tribal’s had carried out the worst massacre of the Muslims in Nelly in Assam. Without blaming the complicity of the political forces out to drive the Bangladeshis the fact also remains that the Anti Bangladeshis agitation has injected a lot of hatred and deep sense of resentment which aroused the provocation leading to the gruesome massacre.
The hawks in Assam have taken the anti migrants agitation to the feverish pitch creating the violent turmoil. The hatred against even Muslims was so intense that even the supply of water was blocked in protest against the chief ministership of Ms Anwara Taimur. Now Anwara Taimur’s name was not found in the draft of NRC.
The Congress which earlier capitalised on the votes of these immigrants felt no compunction in politically flirting with the violent agitationists against the “illegal immigrants or the outsiders”. It was Rajiv Gandhi who signed an accord with the All Assam Students Union which was later transformed into Asom Gana Parishad. The Assam Accord gave all the required legitimacy to the violent students union. It’s the diabolical approach of the Government.
The case in point is Maharashtra where the chauvinist regional force like Shiv Sena owed its origin to the Congress politics in Maharashtra. It was late A.R. Antulay who with an eye over his own survival revived the Shiv Sena with the offer of the seats in the Legislative Council in Maharashtra.
The Congress had to pay the cost of such diabolical approach.
It is in line with the Assam Accord the citizenship record in Assam was to be updated. Now in response to some petition there occurred the NRC draft mandated by the Supreme Court. The National Register of Citizens was meant to find out the genuine Indians and detect the illegal immigrants so as to weed them out.
The NRC draft excluded about 40 lac people nearly 10 percent of the population mainly Muslims from its list which spelt the worst humanitarian crisis at the moment. The humanitarian crisis is at its worst thus complicating the miseries of the people. The future is absolutely uncertain and the turmoil has no end. Those left out from NRC are facing pressurising precarious situation with the likelihood of all their rights being jeopardised.
However this enormous humanitarian crisis has rather evoked the sense of jubilation in the Students Union. The students affiliated to the hawkish union have distributed sweets over the tragic human life. What sort of sadistic pleasure is it to smile at some one’s tragedy?
Meanwhile BJP Present Amit Shah blowing his own trumpet of implementing the Assam Accord said that the Bengali migrants would be the strain over the rights of the natives. However the situation can well be interpreted in another way of utilizing the human resources. The human resources can be best utilized for the expansion of the natural resources. The frenzied political movement is not the remedy to the great human catastrophe. It’s like dehumanizing the humanitarian crisis.
The part of the problem lies in the fear of the demographic changes. In the name of the lurking fear the citizenship credentials of the Indian Bengalis and other nationals are also open to question.
No less significant it is to note that there is the widespread discontent over the NRC draft as the genuine citizens are also missing from the list of the NRC draft. The possibilities of discrimination in today’s communal atmosphere can’t be ruled out.
The Supreme Court meanwhile made it clear that the exercise being conducted under the aegis of the S.C. to identify the alleged aliens residing in Assam would not stop, but nipped the fear of any immediate fall out for those who have not made it to the NRC draft by saying that no coercive step would be taken against them. In the light of the direction of the Supreme Court the response of the implementing authorities should not be structured on the basis of discrimination and coercion. However notwithstanding the directions of the Supreme Court in the prevailing situation the fear psychosis and extreme vulnerability does exist. The fear is justified as in our Country the communal forces have gone bold enough to blatantly deviate from the legal frame work.
In the teeth of the simmering crisis the Bangladesh has refused to accept these alleged aliens. Any aggravating of the plight of the illegal migrants would mainly Muslims has the potential to generate widespread discontent with the pro-India Hasina Wajid Government in Bangladesh and would help in weakening the current Political Establishment in the neighbouring Country.
The basics question is it fair to strip the people of their citizenship on the basis of the cut off date of 1971 who have remained for pretty long in India. The issue is onerous leading to chaos and disruption in the life of the people and its significantly a human rights issue which cannot be brushed under the carpet in the name of interests of the natives and painting the devil of the alleged or real aliens. The crisis is humanitarian which needs to be addressed in a human way.

Posted on Aug 11, 18 | 6:42 am