They were real people, like you and me | india | Hindustan Times
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They were real people, like you and me

Indian blood is being shed everywhere - from Ahmedabad to Assam. It appears that a cancer is growing in our polity; one that has been fanned by the politics of religion and ethnicity so ably practiced by political parties, writes Amit Baruah.

india Updated: Oct 30, 2008 14:55 IST
Amit Baruah

Driving to HT's Delhi office from Gurgaon this morning, I was thinking to myself that Diwali and its aftermath had gone off relatively peacefully, barring the shameful lynching of Dharamdev Rai in Mumbai on Tuesday.

Within moments of entering the office, I realised how wrong I was. Breaking news was shattering television screens; Assam, it appeared, was in flames. Fancy Bazar, Pan Bazar, familiar names to me, a non-resident Akhomiya, were ablaze in Guwahati.

Bodies were being carried out. People were running helter-skelter. It was a rerun of scene that we have witnessed time and again in recent months in different parts of the country.

My first response was to call family in Guwahati. But, the "network" was unavailable; as was information about what had happened to the few relatives I'm in touch with.

Eventually, I got through to a Delhi-based relative, who had managed to get through to Guwahati. Everyone is safe, I'm told.

But what about those actually caught in the 18 blasts that have rocked Assam? What about their relatives and friends? What kind of a country are we becoming? And, why can't the State do anything about it?

There are only questions, no answers.

Indian blood is being shed everywhere - from Ahmedabad to Assam. It appears that a cancer is growing in our polity; one that has been fanned by the politics of religion and ethnicity so ably practiced by political parties.

The serial blasts in Assam, long familiar with the politics of terror unleashed by the United Liberation Front of Asom, or Ulfa, are a reminder that we are yet to join the battle to restore sanity in our country.

Instant analysis will point to the Ulfa, or an Islamist group, with links in Bangladesh. Analysis, evidently, has replaced investigation.

Those killed in Fancy Bazar, Pan Bazar, Kokrajhar and Barpeta will join the long list of innocents who have perished at the hands of terrorists.

But for their fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, and children they leave behind, they were not just an entry on the list.

They were real people, just like you and me.