Text of a statement issued by Civil Society Groups and Concerned Citizens
We, the undersigned, express our profound sense of grief and alarm over the gruesome massacre of Bengali-speaking Muslims on 2nd May. This most recent round of killings — in which 32 people, mostly women and children have lost their lives— is another link in the long and bloody sequence of ethnic cleansing being carried out by tribal Bodo militant groups with impunity.
For years, Hindutva politics has successfully created the bogey of the ‘Bangladeshi’, rendering Muslims as suspects and targets, locked in a perpetual battle with the tribal Bodos. In his rally at Silchar, the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate reiterated precisely this. He said: “There are two kinds of people who came from Bangladesh to Assam: those brought as part of a political conspiracy for vote bank politics of a particular party (Muslims) and others who were harassed in the neighbouring country (Hindus). Those brought for vote bank politics and smugglers must be pushed back, while the second category must be accommodated.” (Silchar, 22nd February).
More recently, poll violence at Harbhanga polling booth of Gossaigaon under 5-Kokrajhar LS(ST) Constituency was followed by a brutal police crackdown on on the villagers of Harbhanga, Jamunatari, Balabara. Many victims and conscious citizens in BTAD think that the incident of Harbhanga Polling Booth was meticulously planned to teach non-Bodo inhabitants a lesson for voting against the atrocious ruling administration.
The immediate provocation for the 2nd May killings seem to have come from the communal statement made by Pramila Rani Brahma, BPF (formerly BLT, a terrorist militant organisation) legislator and former Agricultural Minister of Assam who accused the Muslims of not voting for the BPF candidate Chandan Brahma. She demanded that BPF (a Congress Alliance partner in Assam State Government and ruling party in local BTAD administration) should therefore support BJP.
Immediately after her statement, separate incidents of violence broke out: a prominent Non-Bodo journalist of BTAD Mr. Dhananjoy Nath was attacked; three people were killed on the spot at Narshingpara, and another girl child injured;. at around 12:00am mid night, a heavily armed militant group killed eight people and injured at least four including women and children at Balapara. These were to be a prelude to the mass killings that were to follow the next day, ie., 2nd of May, 2014, when a group of forty heavily armed militant set ablaze nearly 70 houses and killed about 21 people and severely injured many more in Gampara near Gobardhana of Baksa district of BTAD area. Dead bodies are still being recovered and the death toll will rise up considerably.
Mr. Siddique Ahmed, a minister in Assam government who has visited the violence affected area of BTAD, has concluded that the members of BPF were involved in the massacre, and has also demanded the arrest of Smt. Pramila Rani Brahma. It has also come to light that guns provided to forest officials have been used in the massacre, thus directing suspicion towards Khampa Borgoyary, Deputy Chief of BTC and Executive member of Forest Dept of BTC .
We therefore demand the following:
Ram Puniyani, Activist and Writer, Mumbai
Harsh Mander, Aman Biradari, Delhi
Rafiul Alom Rahman, Student, DU
Mahtab Alam, Activist, Bangalore,
Manisha Sethi, Academic, Delhi
Aman Wadud, Advocate, Guwahati
Shaheen Ahmed, Research Scholar, JNU
Parvin Sultana, Research Scholar, JNU
Ahmed Sohaib, Academic, Delhi
Nabanipa Bhattacharjee, Academic, Delhi
Adil Mehdi, Academic, Delhi
Sanghamitra Misra, Academic, Delhi
Tanweer Fazal, Academic, Delhi
Ambarien Alqadr, Academic, Delhi
Ghazi Shahnawaz, Academic, Delhi
Noor Enayat, Brand Consultant, Delhi
Maisnam Arnapal, Research Scholar, DU
Tanmoy Sharma, Graduate Student, JNU
Lesley Esteves, Queer Activist, Delhi
Rituparna Borah, Queer Feminist Activist, Delhi
Bonojit Hussain, Research Scholar, Delhi
Shohini Ghosh, Filmmaker and Academic, Delhi
Manohar Elevarthi, Activist, Bangalore
Roy Wadia, Gay Rights Activist
Rajesh Umadevi, Activist, Bangalore
Mario D’Penha, Queer Activist
Payoshni Mitra, Independent Researcher, Kolkata
Ajaya Kumar Singh, Activist, Bhubaneswar
Jamal Kidwai, Activist, Delhi
Akhil Kumar, activist, Delhi
Maisnam Arnapal, Delhi University
Shaik Zakeer Hussain, Journalist, Bangalore
Asad Zaidi, Writer, Delhi
Nalini Taneja, Academic, Delhi
Anuradha Bhasin Jamwal, journalist, Jammu
N. Jayaram, Journalist, Bangalore
Sharique Ansar, Activist, Delhi
Shahrukh Hameed, Asst.Manager, Public Sector Bank
Dr. Neshat Quaiser, Associate Professor,Jamia
Vishal Bheeroo, Freelance Journalist
Ankit Agrawal, Journalist, Delhi
Nisar Ahmed Khan,Journalist, Maharashtra
Dr Rina Ramdev, Associate Professor, DU
Gauhar Iqbal, Activist, Delhi
Rohit Ticku, PhD Candidate in Development Economics, The Graduate Institute, Geneva
Shabnam Hashmi, Activist, Anhad
Bhawna Sharma, Anhad
Mansi Sharma, Activist, Delhi
Indu Prakash Singh,Rights Defender, NFHR & FACT
Oishik Sircar, Lawyer and Academic, Kolkata
Dr. Mustafa Ahmed Barbhuiya, Researcher
Dr. Rahul Singh
Lateef Mohd Khan Civil Liberties Monitoring Committee
Mazin Khan, Publisher, Delhi
Ovais Sultan Khan, Social Work Professional, Delhi
Harish Iyer, Equal Rights Activist, Mumbai
Ms. Yuman Hussain, Executive Director,Azad India Foundation, Bihar
Sameer Chopra, Assistant Prof. and Research Scholar, DU
Manish K. Jha, Professor, TISS, Mumbai
Jenny Rowena, Dept of English, Miranda House, University of Delhi
Hany Babu, Dept of English, University of Delhi
Anjali Monteiro, Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences
K.P. Jayasankar, Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences
Dr Mohammad Imtiyaj Khan, Academic, Kerala
Md Raees Ahmed, IT Professional
Manasi Pingle, Filmmaker, Bangalore
Naveen Gaur, Associate Professor,DU
Safiul Alam Chowdhury, Businessman, Guwahati
Anamul Haque, Concerned Citizen
sharib Ali, research scholar, TISS
Archana Bidargaddi, Norway
Aban Raza, Artist
Tahmina Laskar, Lawyer,New Delhi
Faiz Ullah, Researcher, Mumbai
Wilfred Dcosta, Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF)
Anivar Aravind , Bangalore
Harsh Kapoor, Activist, Delhi
Dr. Saroop Dhruv
Mukul Dube, Delhi
Asad Ashraf, Student Activist, Delhi
Areeb Rizvi, Student Activist, Delhi
Fr Cedric Prakash, Activist, Ahmedabad
Rajendra Parihar, Academic, Delhi University
Bhasha Singh, Cultural activist & Journalist
Amit Sengupta, Journalist and Academic, Delhi
Arshad Ajmal, Activist, Patna
Xavier Dais, Activist, Raanchi
Waliullah Laskar, Silchar
Prof. Nirmalangshu Mukherji, Delhi University and many others.
Jamia Teachers Solidarity Association (JTSA)
Aman Ekta Manch
Praja Rajakiya Vedike, Karnataka
Aman Biradari, Gujarat
Jamia Student Solidarity Forum, Delhi
LABIA, queer feminist LBT Collective
Karnataka Sex Workers Union (KSWU)
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
Atrocities against India Muslims ??
They are purely Bangladeshi Muslims .One part of the Assam Govt is killing them and other section is trying to protect them.
Why can't these long list of intellectuals have the basic knowledge that all Bodo militants are Christians and not Hindus?Bodo militants are are trained and armed by Naga militants with the sole aim of carving out yet another Christian state,like Mizoram,Nagaland,Meghalaya,and the now ready Arunachal Pradesh.Infact,there will be a huge Christian dominated area from N-E down to Odisha and Andhra Pradesh,where Jagan Reddy is already carrying the Bible.It is the agressive Christianisation that will destroy India and not the Islamism.
"Atrocities against Assamese Muslims must cease now"
The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC), an advocacy group dedicated to safeguarding India's pluralist and tolerant ethos, has condemned the gruesome massacre in Assam that has claimed the lives of 43 people, most of them being women and children, at the hands of Bodo militants. The victims were predominantly Bengali speaking Assamese Muslims living in the Bodo Territorial Area Districts (BTAD). The massacre is directly related to the election where divisive and hateful rhetoric demonizing Assamese Muslims as "illegal immigrants" has been used to incite violence and advance a sectarian agenda.
The canard of illegal "Bangladeshi" immigrants has been used primarily by the Hindu nationalist BJP as a red herring in order to leverage ethnic rivalry between Bodos and Muslims and gain political mileage. The mass killings, and their justification by political forces inimical to the minorities has been rightly condemned by conscientious citizens and human rights activists.
SAHMAT Statement against communal Modi statement on Bengali speakers
We the undersigned are deeply disturbed by the reported remarks of the Prime Ministerial candidate of the NDA at an election rally in West Bengal that “infiltrators” from Bangladesh belonging to a particular religious community must be sent back. Apart from the sheer inhumanity of the remark, we fear that in a country in which every citizen does not possess documentary proof of citizenship such a move would simply cause a general victimization of persons belonging to that particular religious community.
The reason cited by him for sending back “infiltrators” is that they take away jobs from local youth causing unemployment among the latter. This is exactly the reason offered by racist, fascist and xenophobic groups all over Europe, such as the Northern League in Italy, the National Front in France, the British National Party in the U.K., the Movimento Social Espanol in Spain, the National Renewal Party in Portugal, the Flemish Block in Belgium, and the Danish People’s Party in Denmark, for their attacks on immigrants. Persons of Indian origin have often been targets of such attacks which people in this country have rightly condemned. We must not replicate the same logic and the same attitude with regard to immigrants into this country which we condemn when they are directed against Indian immigrants abroad.
Where everyone is a minority: by Sanjoy Hazarika
Bodoland’s demography is one reason why trouble will fester rather than abate: it has nothing to do with illegal migration. It has everything to do with the fact of how a minority of the population controls the lives and destinies of the others.
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