By G Harishankar
Edited by Nandini Bhatia
The attack by the National Democratic Front of Boroland ahead of Christmas celebrations in an Adivasi village of Kokrajhar district of Assam has left the nation in a state of shock.
But deeper investigation into the attacks on the Christian adivasis leaves one to wonder who was the real target of the attacks.
Though Kokrajhar has a history of violent clashes between Bodos and the natives, the village has been witnessing a symbiotic relationship between the two for quite some years now. In fact, according to a victim of the 23rd December attack, Enosh Tudu, the villagers were busy preparing Pitha (a traditional sweet) for their Bodo neighbors when the shooting started. Since the last violent clash between the Bodos and the tribals in 1998 which displaced more than 94,000 people from both the sides, the two had learnt to coexist together. The landless adivasis worked in the plantations of their bodo neighbors. The two communities worked in the same paddy fields, fished together, and also went to the same village markets.
If the two communities no longer had problems with each other, then why did the NDFB attack the adivasis before their main festival?
Such undemocratic organizations only aim to spread civil unrest. And the NDFB was successful in doing so this time too. The attack on the adivasis by the front sparked off retaliatory attacks by the adivasis in neighboring villages. Quite a many bodo villages were caught off guard on the 24th of December when their houses were burnt and families attacked- as the news of the NDFB attack hadn’t yet reached them. They were left wondering the cause of this sudden anger. Already more than 1,00,000 families have been displaced due to the retaliatory attacks by both the groups.
Villagers in Kokrajhar are afraid of a rerun of the violent clashes of ’96 and ’98 which collectively claimed more than 400 Lives and displaced 3,00,000 people, some of which are still living in refugee camps.
People are afraid of starting over their lives for the third time in a span of two decades with measly grants from the government. In ’98 the government had provided the victims of the clash with Rs 50,000 each as rehabilitation money.
The NDFB was successful in spreading unrest in Assam once again in the quest for fulfillment of their obsolete and quite unreasonable demand for a separate land.
G Harishankar is a first year student of Sri Ram College Of Commerce where he is pursuing B.Com Hons. He enjoys balancing the various hats donned by him. He is an active participant of his college Nukkad Natak Toli and is a sketch artist. Friends are his only prized possessions and he loves writing poems and reading and reviewing poetry. He is a nerd of the highest order and his hardworking qualities complement this nature of his.