Final draft memorandum on recent turmoil, politics of ethnic cleansing and BTC

Posted by স্বাভিমান

H.O. C/o N. k. Das, Khudiram Sarani, Sibbari Road, Tarapur, Silchar - 788008
Regd No. 2287
Ref :  NIL                                                                                                                    Date : ২৮-০৭-২০১২
The Honourable Chief Minister
Government of Assam
Dispur, Guwahati
(Through Deputy Commissioner, Cachar)

Sub – Memorandum

Respected Sir,
We, on behalf of various organizations would like to draw your kind attention to the fact that the recent orgy of violence that took away many innocent lives and torched innumerable Muslim villages speaks volumes about the politics of ethnic cleansing prevailing in the BTAD area. The mayhem let loose by the armed Bodo militant groups supported by biased political administration of BTC and an insensitive civil and police administration has compelled the lakhs of Muslim villagers to flee and take refuge in the camps to live the inhuman life of their predecessors who are still languishing in the makeshift camps as the victims of earlier similar genocide. In  front of an all out aggressive armed terrorist attack, the brave front of mass-resistance of the victims proved to be feeble and collapsing when the perpetrators of violence with their hegemonic position started an well orchestrated campaign of outside involvement with an intention to give an Islamic dimension of Bangladeshi infiltration to justify the entire anti-Muslim operation. As the mistrust between the communities looms large in a terror-stricken environment, a section of poor Bodo masses also fled their villages and took refuge in the camps. A section of the Bodo leadership having a least sympathy to their poor community-brethren is deliberately amplifying it to emphasise the theory of outside involvement.   
We uphold the principle of equal rights and equal dignity of all the communities and this principle necessitates empowerment of all communities whose identity rights are at stake. But the way a section of Bodo leadership is spearheading the Bodoland movement to establish absolute hegemony and minority rule over all other communities who constitute the majority population in the BTC area is not in any way serving the interest of common Bodo masses. According to one estimate, Bodos constitute not more than 25 per cent of the total population in the BTC area (and not more than 6 percent of total population of Assam). This means that the BTC Accord gives the Bodos a special status under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution at the cost of 75 per cent of non-Bodo population in the proposed BTC area. 
This movement with an undemocratic essence has naturally transformed itself into a chauvinist-terrorist onslaught through complete lumpenisation of the polity and twisting mass-psyche of disrespect towards the democratic rights of others. The armed Bodo organizations are bent on instilling a fear psychosis in the minds of all non-Bodo population with tacit support of their patron at the helm of affairs.

                                                                                                                                  Contd. To Page 2

This type of pogrom against the non-Bodos is not new and unfamiliar in this BTAD area. Actually the history of the movement for Bodoland and divide Assam fifty-fifty launched in the name of the assertion of Bodo identity rights is mired with killings of thousands and large-scale eviction of lakhs of people especially Santals and Muslims. A horrific attack in Muslim villages including the refugee camp in Barpeta District in 1994 and similar attack on Santals in 1996 are still fresh in the minds of the survivors and the victim families. In 2008, a rumour of a missing Bodo youth gave the alibi to the Bodo Terrorists to let loose a reign of terror on the Muslim populace in Darang and Udalguri districts  killing 55, injuring more than 100 and pushing more than 1.5 lakhs of muslim masses to refugee camp by completely shattering 54 villages according to one estimate. The death and destruction during the attack on Santals in 1996 had even surpassed this horrific scale. All other communities including the Bengali Hindus are muted through terror tactics and they have to live in a state of terror and submission.
This overt way of annihilation, covert way of leading those in the camps to die slowly in an inhuman living condition and forced displacement through eviction are machinated to establish the Majority figure of the Bodos who are otherwise minority in the entire landscape of Bodoland demanded. To put the figure straight, the Bodos in the area constitute less than 20 per cent of the population, but have been deemed fit to command an unassailable, absolute majority in the proposed Council. Over 65 per cent of the seats in the Council are reserved for Scheduled Tribes (STs), whereas the total ST population, including the Bodos, is around 30 per cent.  It is Bodoland for the Bodos even when the territory has only an absolute minority of Bodos. This is a gross violation of equality and democratic rights. Given the savage violence with which ethnic cleansing by the armed Bodos has been taking place in the area for decades, handing over considerable powers to the perpetrators of that protracted violence has meant the end of all guarantees of safety, livelihood and democratic rights for the non-Bodo majority. The sixth schedule has even deprived the non-Bodos from the powers that have been enjoyed by the people in the rest of Assam through Assam Panchayat act promulgated on the basis of 73rd constitutional act.
But the three men expert commission set up by the centre to propose solution of this vexed problem do not subscribe to the formation of BTC. This commission consisted of the Chairman, Bhupinder Singh, a long-time handler of tribal affairs for the Union Home Ministry; Kumar Suresh Singh an anthropologist and administrator; and, a member secretary supplied from the Home Ministry’s ranks. This commission was to look at both the Bodo and the Mising questions on the north bank of the Brahmaputra. We would like to summarise very briefly its recommendations so far as they pertain to the Bodo question.
The commission had access to the linguistic tables of the 1991 census. From their study of it, they concluded that the Bodos had majorities at the village and village cluster levels only. This was a crucial finding. Keeping in mind the aspirations of the Bodos, the commission proposed two things, one for the state level and another for the regional level. At the regional level, it proposed a three-tier structure of self-government, two of them territorial, at the village and village cluster levels, and a coordinating body above the two. All three bodies were to have demarcated but interpenetrating powers. At the state level, the commission proposed a second chamber for the legislature, a sort of house of ethnicities, with definite powers, including the veto over the lower chamber in certain matters, to ensure self-rule and the cultural and social autonomy of the various ethnicities. The question of the Sixth Schedule could not possibly occur in such a proposal. That or any large-scale territorial autonomy had become untenable on account of the demographic findings.                                                                                                                       Contd. To Page 3
But the objectives as stated in  the agreement are: to create an Autonomous self governing body to be known as Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) within the State of Assam and to provide constitutional protection under Sixth Schedule to the said Autonomous Body;                                              to fulfil economic, educational and linguistic aspirations and the preservation of land-rights, socio-cultural and ethnic identity of the Bodos; and speed up the infrastructure development in BTC area. So the formation of BTC itself curtailed the rights of non-Bodos who are majority in the area demarcated.
Under the circumstances stated above, we put forward the following demands for your perusal and immediate needful action.
(1)   All the arms of the Bodo militant organizations who are under ceasefire must be seized immediately.
(2)   All the past evicted people who are languishing in the makeshift camps and the evicted people of recent violence must be suitably rehabilitated and compensated,
(3)   BTC must be dissolved and BTAD must be abrogated immediately.
(4)   The present BTAD area vis-à-vis entire state of Assam must be re-structured on federal basis to ensure equal-rights and equal-dignity of all the communities of Assam including the Bodos.  
                                                                                                              Yours faithfully

Copy to – (1) Hounourable Governor, GoA, Dispur. (2) Honourable Prime Minister, GoI, New Delhi (3) Honourable Home Minister, GoI, New Delhi. (2) The Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission, GoI, New Delhi.


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