The attack on a businessman’s family at Pengeree in Tinsukia district recently has raised an outcry across the State, with people coming out to the streets in protest. The Assam police says it is the handiwork of the ULFA(I), a charge which the outfit’s C-in-C Paresh Baruah has denied. Baruah at the same time has demanded Hindi-speakers’ organizations to apologize or face ‘serious consequences’. In the heat generated in this flurry of accusations and threats, all right-thinking citizens are deeply concerned. Assembly elections are due in Assam in ten months and there are fears that the State may yet witness more spells of bloodletting. It has happened in the past and may happen again. The larger society has been repeatedly betrayed by cynical politicians striking deals with ultras. Assam may yet become a battle zone in the run-up to the 2016 polls, with the dangers of competitive polarizations looming. Will the State be divided in terms of religion, race or language as political parties jockey for advantage? There are now apprehensions that more attacks on Hindi-speakers will force the Centre to deploy more jawans, which in turn will set one language group against another. There may be other violent incidents which can ignite conflict between ethnic groups as it happened after the massacre of Adivasis in December last year, or trigger riots between tribal and religious groups like the Bodoland riots in 2012. If we spare a thought for the father and daughter so cruelly gunned down in Pengeree, the schoolchildren blown to bits in the Dhemaji blast and victims of other dastardly attacks, or for that matter the utterly broken, destitute Bodo, Adivasi or Muslim refugees huddled in camps, one thing becomes manifestly clear. Terror is terror, a total violation of the very qualities that make us human — and ideology or religion has nothing to do with it. Vel politicians will take advantage of terror because they see only their own benefit. It is for all-right thinking people to see through their tactics. And they must protest fearlessly against all such outrages, whatever community the victim belongs to.
Food for thought