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Assam conflict was badly handled: G K Pillai

July 25, 2012 20:13 IST

Assam has been on the boil due to clashes at Kokrajhar district. 1000s of people have fled and many others rendered homeless.

Former Home Secretary G K Pillai, who is from the Assam cadre, believes that the violence cannot be linked to the issue of Bangladeshi infiltration.

"I don't think infiltration is the problem here. Infiltration has come down a great deal in Assam; this is more of a local issue," he told rediff.com

"I would suggest that local leaders sit across the table, discuss the problems and sort out the issue before it could get any worse. These are old problems; this time it has flared up very badly. I would say that the handling of the issue was a bit slack, but be rest assured that the problem will come down if a proper plan is chalked out and leaders sit across the table and talk."

"There has been talk that the flare-up could be due to Bangladeshi immigrants. But in my reading, that is not the case. This issue is more or less saturated. The number of Bangladeshi immigrants in Assam has come down a great deal and they have been moving to other states and settling down."

In Assam there has been a lot of animosity between the Bodos and the Bengali Muslim settlers, most of who are from Bangladesh. Many of these settlers have been here since 1971 and state officials feel that it is the old issue which has cropped yet again. The major issue being land grabbing, sources also point out.

According to an Intelligence Bureau official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the conflict has exposed the inability to concentrate on intelligence collection on local social issues.

The fact that so much ammunition was found at the scene of the violence indicates that they were hidden over a long period of time and some were even brought in for the violence, the official says, adding that the intelligence has failed badly.
Vicky Nanjappa