Saturday, August 18, 2012


How & Why: From a source not entirely reliable//

Assam violence, 2012
In July 2012 the Indian state of Assam saw outbreaks of violence between indigenous Bodos and Bengali-speaking immigrants. As of 8 August 2012, 77 people have died and over 400,000 people have been displaced, from almost 400 villages, taking shelter in 270 relief camps. Eleven people have been reported to be missing. On 27 July 2012, Assam's Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi blamed the national government for "delay in army deployment to riot-hit areas". On the next day, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited the relief camps in Kokrajhar and said the recent violence is a blot on the face of India. Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram visited the state on Monday, 30 July to review the security situation, relief and rehabilitation measures.

This violent outbreak follows pre-existing ethnic tensions between the indigenous Bodo community and Muslims, in Assam, due in part to rising ethnic nationalism (most notably Bodo nationalism) and diaspora politics. Increasing Muslim population consists of refugees from the erstwhile East Pakistan prior to the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War and subsequent migrants from Bangladesh who are illegal in the region. By mid-1970s, increased competition for livelihood, land, and political power have led to frequent incidents of violence, including large scale clashes, and the Nellie massacre, which left nearly 3,000 dead after the controversial 1983 state elections. This also resulted in resentment amongst Bodos, Rabhas, Tiwas, and other indigenous tribes-people towards India's central government for failing to prevent illegal migration from across the border and amongst the Muslim community for failure to protect the rights of minorities. There has been domestic concerns in Assam with demographic changes. It has been common knowledge that out of the 27 districts in Assam, 11 of them are going to be Muslim majority districts once the 2011 census figures, religion-wise, are published by the census authorities.

According to NDTV, two Bengali-speaking Muslims were killed in early July, followed by two more killings on 19 July. The police failed to identify the killers. On 20 July, four former Bodo Liberation Tigers men were killed in Kokrajhar. Certain news sources also trace the violence to the death of the two student leaders of the All Bodoland Minority Students’ Union and the All Assam Minority Students’ Union in Kokrajhar on 4 July 2012. The Bodos retaliated by attacking Bengali-speaking Muslims and the clashes began. Resulting ethnic clashes saw armed groups from both sides setting residential houses and public amenities such as schools and public transport on fire. There were also reports of firing using automatic weapons. On 24 July, at Gossaigaon in Kokrajhar district, stone pelting at the Guwahati-bound Rajdhani Express resulted in damage to four coaches and the train was turned back. Neighboring districts of Bongaigaon, Baksa and Udalguri also under Bodoland Territorial Areas District (BTAD) remained relatively calm, but tense. The ethnic violence led to more than 400,000 being displaced from their homes. Train services and certain road transport services were disrupted and were resumed only on 25 July 2012, under protection of the central forces. On 27 July, the death toll rose to 58. On 6 August 2012, three more persons were killed and two others injured in fresh violence that erupted in Kokrajhar district, bringing the death toll to 64.

On August 8 and 9, some Manipuris were attacked in Pune. Students and professionals were beaten up by Muslim miscreants in Pune's Kondhwa and Poona College areas. Attackers asked victims which state they belonged to and when told they were from Manipur [North East India] they were beaten up. One of the victims said some attackers wore college uniform while others were in casual clothes. Police have arrested nine Muslim youths for the attacks in Pune. The youths — Nadeem Rashid Ansari (18), Imamuddin Shafiq Shaikh (20), Vasim Faruq Shaikh (22), Muzaffar Azim Jamadar (19), Muzammil Ubedulla Shaikh (18), Tipu Javed Shaikh (19), Ejaz Sherahmed Shaikh (21), Rafiq Mehmood Shaikh (21) and Mateen Mohammed Pathan (19) — were produced before the courts and later released on bail. Two labourers Sudip Barman, 23, and Khanin Ray, 32 from Assam were attacked in Andhra Pradesh while travelling in Ernakulam Express. One of the labourer sustained severe injuries, and later succumbed to his injuries. On 11 August 2012, a Muslim protest against the riots in Assam and attacks on Muslims in Myanmar was held at Azad Maidan in Mumbai. The protest was organised by Raza Academy, and was attended by two other groups, Sunni Jamaitul Ulma and Jamate Raza-e-Mustafa. It ended in violence, killing two and injuries to 54 others including 45 policemen. The most disturbing images were those of miscreants demolishing the "Amar Jawan Jyoti" a symbol of Indian Valour. Police Commissioner Arup Patnaik said it was around 3 pm that the crowd turned violent, after some protesters showed “provocative photos” of the Assam violence. “Some people started raising slogans against the police and media. They set fire to police vehicles,” said Patnaik. “As we tried restraining the crowd, a scuffle broke out between the protestors and police.”

Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act (IMDT)
The Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal ) (IMDT) Act was Indian law enacted in 1983 by Indira Gandhi government. It has been struck down by the Supreme Court of India in 2005. Known as the IMDT Act (1983) it described the procedures to detect illegal immigrants (from Bangladesh) and expel them from Assam. The Act was pushed through mainly on the grounds that it provided special protections against undue harassment to the “minorities” that were affected by the Assam Agitation. It was applicable to state of Assam only whereas in other states, detection of foreigners is done under The Foreigners Act, 1946. The act basically made it difficult to deport illegal immigrants from Assam. It has been alleged to be one of the main reasons of rapid rise of Muslim population and demographic change in Assam.

The Treaty of Yandabo
The Treaty of Yandabo was the peace treaty that ended the First Anglo-Burmese War. The treaty was signed on 24 February 1826, nearly two years after the war formally broke out on 5 March 1824, by General Sir Archibald Campbell on the British side, and by Governor of Legaing Maha Min Hla Kyaw Htin from the Burmese side. With the British army at Yandabo village, only 80 km (50 mi) from the capital Ava, the Burmese were forced to accept the British terms without discussion. According to the treaty, the Burmese agreed to (1) cede to the British Assam, Manipur, Rakhine (Arakan), and Taninthayi (Tenasserim) coast south of Salween river, (2) cease all interference in Cachar and Jaintia, (3) pay an indemnity of one million pounds sterling in four installments, (4) allow for an exchange of diplomatic representatives between Ava and Calcutta, and (5) sign a commercial treaty in due course. The treaty ended the longest and most expensive war in British Indian history. Fifteen thousand European and Indian soldiers died, together with an unknown (but almost certainly higher) number of Burmese. The campaign cost the British five million pounds sterling (roughly 18.5 billion in 2006 dollars) to 13 million pounds sterling; this expenditure led to a severe economic crisis in British India in 1833. But for the Burmese, it was to be the beginning of the end of their independence. The Third Burmese Empire, briefly the terror of British India, was effectively undone, crippled and no longer a threat to the eastern frontier of British India. The Burmese would be crushed for years to come by repaying the huge indemnity of one million pounds (then US$5 million), a large sum even in Europe of that time. The British would make two more wars against the much weaker Burmese, and swallow up the entire country by 1885.

Rakhine State riots, 2012
Rakhine State riots are a series of ongoing conflicts between ethnic Rakhine and Rohingya Muslims in northern Rakhine State, Myanmar. The riots came after weeks of sectarian disputes and have been condemned by most people on both sides of the conflict. The immediate cause of the riots is unclear, with many commentators citing the killing of ten Burmese Muslims by ethnic Rakhine after the rape and murder of a Rakhine woman as the main cause. The government responded by imposing curfews and by deploying troops in the regions. On June 10, state of emergency was declared in Rakhine, allowing military to participate in administration of the region. As of June 14, officially there have been 29 casualties – 16 Muslims and 13 Buddhists. An estimated 90,000 people displaced by the violence. About 2,528 houses were burned, and of those, 1,336 belonged to Rohingyas and 1,192 belonged to Rakhines. The Burmese army and police have been accused of playing a leading role in targeting Rohingyas through mass arrests and arbitrary violence.

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