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How minorities commission goofed up in Assam

Last updated on: August 21, 2012 11:22 IST

How minorities commission goofed up in Assam

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Vicky Nanjappa

The Asian Centre for Human Rights has in its report stated that the National Commission for Minorities is communalising the riots in Assam.

The ACHR stated that the mandate of the NCM as per the National Commission of Minorities Act, 1992 is the protection of religious minorities. However, the NCM ignored the fact that at least 15 per cent of the Bodos are Christians while about 50 per cent of the Bodos follow their own animist religion, 'Bathou' and therefore fall under the definition of 'minorities'.

The NCM, following its visit to the riot affected areas of western Assam on August 11,  effectively reduced the riots to 'Bodos vs Muslims' wherein Muslims have been defined as 'minorities', therefore, falling within the mandate of the NCM and the Bodos have been defined as a majority in clear violation of the NCM Act.

The NCM Act does not include "ethnic minorities" and in terms of ethnicity, all the ethnic groups in Bodoland feel they are minority.

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Further, the NCM delegation visited only one Bodo camp -- Vidyapeeth high school at Kokrajhar town and six Muslim relief camps.
The Vidyapeeth high school is in the heart of Kokrajhar town, the headquarters of the BTAD and therefore, its condition is better than other Bodo relief camps and therefore, the inferences drawn by the NCM are inaccurate, the report states.

"The NCM failed to ensure impartiality at a time when it is clear that both the Bodos and Muslims are scared to return to their respective villages surrounded by the other community. Despite this reality, the NCM concluded that in the case of the Muslims abandoning their villages and their houses being looted and gutted, there is a 'design to see that they do not return to their own villages' while with respect to the Bodo houses being looted and gutted, the NCM stated that the Bodos did this to themselves."

As over 6,000 people from north-east assembled at Bengaluru railway station on August 15, the NCM released its report which stated that 'the conflict was unequal as the Bodos were killing Muslims with AK 47s and there is impending fear of jihadis supplying arms to Assam'.

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Tags: NCM , Bodo , Bodos , Vidyapeeth , BTAD

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According to the ACHR, the NCM made these statements when the press until today had not disclosed the identities of the victims even those who were thrown off the train while fleeing in order to prevent further escalation of the conflicts.

The ACHR says that the biased and inflammatory report of the NCM further contribute to the vulnerability of the north-eastern people and the feeling among them that NCM is not for their  protection even if majority of them are Christians and had nothing to with the riots in Assam.

Of the 50,000 north-eastern people who fled from across India in the last one week, a majority of them were Christians. The NCM failed to stand up for these minorities from the north-east, the report claimed.

In view of the biased report of the NCM, there is growing clamour for bringing in the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes that is mandated to protect the rights of the Scheduled Tribes, including Bodos.




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