Portray: The enemy within
Syeda Mazhar
3/2/2017

 

The plight of Muslims in the subcontinent has been decades old. Atrocities faced by them became a norm that now is reckoned as legal. Hindu extremists have time and again proven their immense hostility towards the Muslims. Be it the Kashmiris or the Bengali Muslims, they have always bore the brunt of being of a different religion than Hinduism. Politics in Assam can sometimes be alarmingly shallow: since the 1980s, it has almost completely been about where parties stood on the ‘foreign issue’, an obsessive insecurity of losing land to acquisitive Bengali immigrants, with a shade of Islam phobia that finds validation in the belief that Muslims don’t treat their women as well as the Assamese do. As a political card, it is genius: it unites and divides villagers, townsfolk, farmers, industrial workers, government officers, and, of course, politicians. Not surprisingly, much blood has been shed over the matter. Today, a third of Assam is Muslim. According to the 2011 census, nine out of 27 districts are Muslim-majority, compared to six in the 2001 census. Of the three main administrative areas in the Barak valley, Hailakandi and Karimganj are majority Muslim.

There are Assamese chauvinist groups who don’t want non-Assamese people in Assam at all. They want to oust them one way or another, send them to another state or to Bangladesh. The Hindu majority in India is notorious for wanting the non-Hindu population out of ‘their Hindustan’. The greatest irony of India’s blood soaked partition was that the blood required to seal and materialize was of Muslims and today the whole of India is reeling under Hindu fanaticism.
Pro Muslim nationalist forces in the state should not hesitate to vocalize and propagate the truth to raise the political consciousness of the minority Bengali Muslim population. This will be a difficult process as India’s main government; BJP is also known to have ties with the Hindu extremist party: RSS. Moreover, the previous long term communist indoctrination of Bengali’s masses, the anti-Muslim bias of the state’s administrative apparatus and the stoic silence of the state’s Marxist controlled media outlets who have a long tradition of censoring all information relating to the anti-Muslim violence and atrocities unleashed upon them. Modi at the Centre, a BJP government at the state will and have made the matters worse for it will be assured that an extremely pro-Hindu rule would be implemented in the state. The stakes run extremely high. The question arises who are the real enemies of Assam. In 1836, Bengali language was imposedas official language in Assam, spreading the notion among British officers that Assamese is a mere dialect of Bengalis, opposing the use of Assamese as an official language in 1960, the instigation of the Khasis to form the state Meghalaya; The brains behind all this was a group of Hindu Bengalis. From setting up Bengali medium schools and oppose Assamese in Assam to all the unrest and division of Assam into so many parts has been planned by Bengali Hindus.
The migration of Muslim peasants of Bengal origin started in the later part of the 19th century under the patronage of colonial administrators, according to a well thought-out colonial policy. The British promoted such migrations for they were looking for hardworking peasants to cultivate the barren and fertile land of the Brahmaputra Valley. Since then Muslims have enormously contributed towards agriculture and irrigation. However, now the same prodigies of the same people are considered suspected citizens in their own homeland and more they are being blamed for Islamic radicalization too.
Hundreds of Muslims were killed in Kokrajhar, Bashbari, Udalguri, Kokrajhar and Chirang and Narayanguri. The violence and exodus of thousands of people has led to incessant protests in the province Assam. Every time Muslims are killed and branded as “Bangladeshi”, the debate immediately shifts from the gross violation of human rights to illegal immigration. The major enemies of Assam are the Bengali Hindus. Moreover, the Muslims are being made ‘doubtful voters’ and are being stripped of citizenship rights despite having all valid documents. Had the Bengali Hindus been victims of this menace the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, that seeks to amend the 1955 Citizenship Act would have sounded fair. How now Hindu, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christains are no longer treated as illegal immigrants and only Bengali Muslims who are here for generations will be targeted for this humiliation.
Sarma said the BJP wanted to protect the Bengali-speaking Hindu migrants and wanted to keep them segregated from the Bengali-speaking Muslim migrants. “We want the Bengali-speaking Hindus to remain with the Assamese people. That is the BJP’s viewpoint. It has not changed. It has been the same, both before and after elections,” said Sarma The clear comicality in the statement and the state of affairs shows how the killings of Bengali Muslims have been a matter of trivial importance for the government of India.