Feud between Bodos and resident Muslims: NCM

The National Commission for Minorities team that has compiled a report after visiting areas hit by ethnic violence in Assam has concluded that this time the clashes have not been between the Bodos and the immigrants but "between the Bodos and resident Muslims of BTAD".

The NCM team is in favour of a Special Investigating Team probing into the incidents "in order to restore confidence in the justice delivery system".

The team has mentioned the "differential" levels of arms between the Bodos and non-Bodos, and has observed that allowing a sense of lack of parity in treatment and no justice to them would leave some elements amongst "Muslims in the BTAD" open to persuasions by militant outfits or "becoming militants".

The team, comprising Member, Planning Commission, Syeda Hameed, Advisor G B Panda, and Member, NCM, Keki N Daruwalla, has said in the report that in 1996, 2004, 2006 and 2008, the area witnessed ethnic conflicts involving the Bodos and non-Bodos not just Muslims but also Santhals and other tribal communities.

This time, they concluded it's not between the Bodos and immigrant Muslims but between the Bodos and resident Muslims of Bodoland Territorial Area District (BTAD).

The team has recorded the views of those staying in refugee camps.

"Most people feel this strife is caused because the Bodos think that driving out other ethnic people is in their interest. The Bodo population is nearly 30 per cent...They feel that if their population goes up to 50 per cent they will be able to demand statehood...," the report says.

The team has mentioned the fear among the residents of camps regarding "recurrent violence" and that looting of Muslim homes has been happening as a part of a plan to ensure that they are unable to return home.

... contd.

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