EDITORIAL

Crestfallen Assam Lies Shackled with Unending Woes

Bishaldeep Kakati
(Bishaldeep Kakati may be reached at deep.kakati99@gmail.com)

If we hover around and look at the affairs that have been the burning issues of late, we have to say that those burning issues more or less have been related to Assam only

With the sun rising everyday from the horizon, people often feel that the new rising sun in the new day brings with it a wave of positivity that fosters us to carry forward our lives in the most distinctive way. And that rising sun is considered to be special not only for a living species, a state or a country; rather it is special for the entire planet. But what if a scenario turns out to be such where for a particular state and its burgess every rising sun brings with it only news of despair and misery? The answer to this question is quite simple, as the people of that particular state will either wail helplessly, or amalgamate themselves as a force and find out permanent solutions of the problems that are lingering.

Well, the above scrupulous discussion or deliberation is intentionally brought in to make the bevy of people realize two important things. The first thing is that probably a particular state and its people are suffering in a very bad way with something deplorable coming up every now and then. And the second thing is that probably no one is turning up to help that state and its people, may be not even the government.
However, if we hover around and look at the affairs that have been the burning issues of late – that have raised eyebrows and affected the peace and prosperity of a state – we have to say that those burning issues more or less have been related to Assam only. That is why Assam has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons for quite a prolonged period of time.

A careful scrutiny of the horrendous things that have occurred in the past couple of months or so will bring in front of us a harrowing picture where every alternate day in Assam a rape incident occupies the headlines in news. Be it the rape of a juvenile, the rape of a teenager or the rape of a mature woman, the despicable scenes have not stopped to haunt the state. But the utterly disappointing thing is that in some of the cases, a rape victim has also been burnt alive to death by criminals.

The infamous case of a fifth-standard girl being raped and then burnt alive in Nagaon directly comes to our mind when we confabulate about the issue of burning the victim’s body. So the thing that is evident from these interminable rape cases is that they have completely taken the state and its people to a condition of abject misery. And, of course, if statistics reveals that since 2016, 3,009 rape cases and 17,106 cases of violence against women are registered in Assam, then people are bound to ponder whether the government can provide them security or not in the true sense of the term.

Indian government deciding to award death penalty to a person convicted in the charge of rape of a girl below 12 years of age might have helped engender some fear in the minds of malefactors, but even then the government has failed miserably to stop the incessant crimes against women.

Another issue that has been troubling Assam since long is the predicament of constant violence and sabotages that has been occurring between the guerrillas and the local people. Since time immemorial, these guerrillas have not only killed innocent people, but they have not refrained themselves from killing young children as well. The incident of Dhemaji bomb blast of 2004 that killed around 18 innocent children, the serial bomb blasts of October 30 2007 killing hundreds, and others have only made Assam cramp and fall every time the state decided to step on the pedestal of success. Along with this, every now and then a guerrilla or a native police officer is killed during armed rebellion, which symbolizes the very fact that when there are constant wars occurring in a state, the state cannot dream of progress. And the recent case of the police officer, Bhaskar Kalita, who was killed in an encounter with these guerrillas, simply elucidates the fact that probably these wars will never stop, but will only lead to the death of more and more innocent people. And even in this regard, the role of the government is highly questionable.

Not only this, but also, the people of Assam have been frustrated by the ‘Adopt a Heritage Scheme’ undertaken by the government. The scheme that emphasizes to entrust heritage sites/monuments and other sites to private sector companies has created a great deal of hue and cry in the state. And by planning to hand over heritage sites like Rang Ghar, Kareng Ghar, Kaziranga etc to private companies, the government has further degraded the hopes and aspirations of the people that have resided upon them. That is why the people of Assam have strongly protested against this scheme in order to prevent their state from being a commodity that can be sold or bought.

Moreover, as if these woeful things have not been enough to destroy or demolish the very idea of Assam, the Union government has found another way to inflict more miseries on the people here. By amending the Citizenship Act 1955 and coming up with new Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, the Union government has shrewdly tried to destroy the integrity, culture and rights of the indigenous people of Assam. And although the people of Assam have protested against it by giving their memorandums against the bill to the Joint Parliamentary Committee, the sad fact of life is that the BJP-led state government, which had promised the people to save the state’s discrete identity, culture and tradition, has completely remained numb in this regard. However the indigenous and other right-thinking people of Assam have made it very clear that they are not going to accept any illegal immigrant who has come to the State after the midnight of March 24, 1971. Therefore, the representatives of the government should refrain themselves from turning the bill in question into an Act if they do not want to descry another Assam Movement in the days to come.

In order to view the sun of positivity again, it is high time that the people of Assam became united and stood as one to once again prove to the State government as well as the Central government as to the brute force they possess in their selves to do anything when the question is about saving their motherland. And that special modus operandi must be displayed by the people of Assam at the earliest.