Ethnic violence may continue, centre warns Assam (Second Lead)September 13th, 2012 - 11:05 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Sep 13 (IANS) The central government has warned the Assam government that the situation arising out of the ethnic strife between Bodos and Muslims “is far from normal” and that further trouble was brewing in districts neighbouring the Bodo areas.
Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde conveyed this assessment to the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs (CCPA) chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at his Race Course Residence here Thursday, according to informed sources.
The meeting was convened to mainly discuss the Assam violence witnessed since July 19 that has claimed 97 lives and left 4.8 lakh people in relief camps.
Shinde gave an overall assessment of the Assam violence and the situation prevailing in the Bodo Territorial Autonomous District (BTAD) areas of Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalgiri.
The home minister’s assessment, according to the sources, was that Bodos’ fear of becoming a minority in their own land was the reason for the troubles in the state.
At present, there are 35 percent Bodos, 14 percent tribals, 15 percent Muslims, 10 percent Bengalis, 15 percent Assamese and others forming the remaining 11 percent population in the Bodo areas.
The Bodos were worried they would get marginalised as migrants from other states within the country and from outside the country settled in their territory and this was the historical background for the violence being witnessed in Assam, Shinde reportedly told the meeting.
The central government also felt that though the developments of the recent days, when people of northeast origin returned to cities like Bangalore, Pune, Chennai and other places from where they had fled last month, was encouraging, “the situation is still far from being normal”.
The miscreants, the government felt, were waiting to cause trouble and that the state governments needed to maintain vigil.
They also held that indications were clear that similar sectarian tension was spreading to neighbouring districts of the BTAD such as Barpeta, Karimganj and others.
Communal passion was still running high in some of the districts of the state, according to the central government.
It has also suggested to Assam government that to prevent such violence from recurring, a comprehensive security plan that is fool proof needs to be put in place.
The CCPA was also informed that there were 213 of the 340 relief camps still functioning in the state and about 1.92 lakh people still staying in these camps out of the 4.8 lakh who had been displaced due to the violence.
It was also told that 141 camps had been closed after 2.93 lakh people returned to their homes.