Sunday, Sep 25, 2022
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Hate Kicks In

Behind the recent anti-Bihari 'wave' is a wider question of how to manage too many people and too little jobs Updates

Hate Kicks In U. B. Photos

The Bihari seems to be at the receiving end of a xenophobia sweeping Assam and Maharashtra. Assam was witness to an anti-Bengali explosion two decades ago, but local ire now seems to be trained on Biharis, as violence against the Hindi-speaking people rocked the state last fortnight. The trigger was a Railway Recruitment Board () test for lower-end C and D category jobs in Guwahati. With the general perception being that Biharis were grabbing jobs in the railways—since Union railway minister Nitish Kumar is from Bihar—the anger over non-Assamese people appearing for the exam boiled over. Via a sequence of retaliatory incidents here and in Bihar, it spiralled into full-fledged mob violence that left 56 dead and led chief minister Tarun Gogoi to demand a CBI enquiry.

It wasn't long before the Shiv Sena took an opportunistic cue and raised the pitch in Mumbai. On November 18, over 800 activists of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Sena ransacked the RRB offices at the Mumbai Central station, not even sparing board chairman Anil Mittal's office. The agitators were reacting to news that six lakh candidates, a sizeable chunk of them from Bihar, had applied for 2,000 Western Zone jobs. With Sena chief Bal Thackeray threatening to disrupt the exams, and nephew Raj pitching in with the cry of—"Throw Biharis out. No Bhaiyyas allowed"—the ministry decided to postpone the exam scheduled for November 23.

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