`Flawed policies widening divide among people in Assam`

Gradual fall in level of mutual trust among people was some of the reasons attributed by experts to the recent clashes in Assam between Bodos and non-Bodos.

Updated: Nov 11, 2012, 13:28 PM IST

New Delhi: Gradual fall in level of mutual trust among people, flawed policies of the government and media failing to highlight core issues were some of the reasons attributed by experts to the recent clashes in Assam between Bodos and non-Bodos which left about 90 people dead.

Speaking at a seminar on `Identity, Livelihood and Communal Conflicts: Understanding Contemporary Assam` here yesterday, former special director of Intelligence Bureau RN Ravi stressed the need for a survival strategy saying the state is drifting on a trajectory which is self-destructive.

"Different theatres of Assam have been witnessing one or the other clash over the past few years. The level of mutual trust among the people is going down," he said. He said the government is not doing much and its "flawed policies" are only aggravating the situation and widening the divide among people.

"When people protest over a certain issue, the first response of the government is denial. They say there is no such issue. And then persistent denial ultimately leads to be the cause of the protest being defeated and the issue remains unaddressed," the IPS officer, who also served in Assam, said.

In his address, North Eastern Hill University (NEHU) professor Apurba K Baruah said that there is a severe identity crisis in Assam. He also blamed the Assamese middle-class for engaging Bengali-speaking migrant workers in different household chores.

Journalist and TV host Mrinal Talukdar lamented the role of the media during the recent clashes saying it was mostly inactive.

He asked young reporters to visit the violence-hit areas and highlight the plight of the people.

Economist Amiya Kumar Sharma of Rashtriya Gramin Vikas Nidhi highlighted the livelihood issues related to the recent situation.

The non-implementation of the Assam Accord also came up for discussion at the seminar organised by Advancement of Peoples Group in collaboration with the North East Media Forum, New Delhi.

Ravi alleged that the Assam Accord of 1985 is like a finger pointing to the moon.

He claimed that the Accord was signed to fail as it had no solution mentioned. Of the 15 clauses, four are about the local government and other few about the economic development in the region.

On the occasion Talukdar`s short film "Nobody`s Men" was screened. The 20-minute film deals with the plight of Indians living in villages outside the fenced area along the border.

Every day at 6 PM, the gates along the barbed wire fences are closed for the night. As a result, people in the villages that lie beyond the fences are locked out of the country - until it is 6 AM when the gates are opened.