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HindustanTimes Tue,16 Sep 2014

Assam ethnic strife: the factors

Hindustan Times   July 26, 2012
First Published: 23:07 IST(26/7/2012) | Last Updated: 00:01 IST(27/7/2012)

The main cause of the violence between Bodo tribals and immigrant Muslims is control over land.

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* Kokrajhar and Chirang were predominantly Bodo tribal areas till the early ’90s. Then migrations of Muslims (from Bangladesh) to the Gosaigaon sub-division in Kokrajhar district started from the beginning of the decade, leading to a manifold increase in Muslims.

* Land passed hands from Bodos to Muslims, who outnumbered the former in many villages. Slowly Muslims migrated to Kokrajhar town. Ghettoisation in urban areas sharpened conflicts.

* In 2003, the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) was created with the signing of an accord between state, Centre and Bodo Liberation Front (BLT), a militant outfit that spearheaded the separate Bodoland movement.

* Hagrama Mahilary, who once headed the BLT, formed a political outfit, Bodoland People’s Front, and won the council election.

* The BTC faced opposition from the non-Bodo people. Some alleged the BTC administration under Hagrama Mahilary neglected them and immigrant Muslims.

What they say

“Hagrama Mahilary has masterminded the present situation. The armed miscreants who created trouble in Kokrajhar and Chirang are his followers. Today they targeted Muslim community. Tomorrow they will target other non-Bodo communities living in BTC areas.”
Abdur Rahim Ahmed, president of All Assam Minority Students Union

“The creation of the BTC was a major blunder …justice was denied to a majority of people living in present BTC areas … immigrant Muslims have been marginalised.”
Nani Gopal Mahanta, political science department, Gauhati University

Flashpoints
July 6: Two immigrant Muslims killed in Gosaigaon in Kokrajhar district

July 19: Two leaders of All Bodoland Minority Students Union shot. ABMSU declares ‘jehad’ against Bodos

July 20: Four Bodos hacked to death. This triggers the current spiraling violence.


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