Gory assault leaves Assam burning Shame which can not be washed from indian face
Monday, November 26, 2007 (Guwahati)
As Guwahati burned with protests by Adivasis on Saturday, the police simply watched.
Shocking pictures of assault on an Adivasi woman, during a violent clash between Adivasi protesters and local residents on the streets of Guwahati on Saturday left the country in awe.
The telling pictures reflected the deep-seated social divide between the mainstream middle class Assamese and the Adivasis, most of whom are tea garden labourers, brought by the British, nearly 200 years ago.
The protesters were marching towards the Assembly, demanding scheduled tribe status. The Adivasis damaged vehicles and destroyed roadside shops. Some of them were even armed.
In the violence that followed, one Adivasi was killed and over 200 injured. The police, who are normally present in the area in large numbers, simply watched on.
Local residents started beating up the Adivasis and it was during this clash when a woman was stripped on the road and assaulted. She desperately ran for cover but to no avail. Later, some passers-by took her to a nearby locality, where she was given clothes.
The Chief Minister admits the administration didn't anticipate such a flare-up.
''No, there's no social divide. We've been living together for hundreds of years. But yes, we didn't expect trouble as demonstrations in Guwahati are a day to day affair,'' said Tarun Gogoi, Chief Minister, Assam.
But not everyone is convinced with the Chief Minister's claims of social harmony between the Adivasis and the average Assamese.
Saturdays' wasn't a communal clash rather it was just another incident of suppressing those, who're already suppressed. While one man assaulted, the other helped.
And the clash has driven a wedge into the already fragile Assamese-Adivasi relationship. The Speaker of Assam Assembly, who comes from the tea community, had some strong words on the situation.
''This incident, particularly the attack on the woman is heinous, it has to be condemned. It was horrendous,'' said Prithvi Majhi, Speaker, Assam Assembly.
Assam has an Adivasi population of nearly 10 lakh who have been a Congress vote bank for years. But protests against Saturday's violence are already gaining pitch, even though 3 people have been arrested and 15 others are being questioned.
The issue now threatens to have an impact in Jharkhand that has a sizeable Adivasi population.
''The ghastly incident has sparked violence. We will have eco blockade in Jharkhand, block coal, and iron ore. Jharkhand will burn. We will take it seriously. They have to be given ST status, like they get ST status in the rest of the country,'' said Salkhan Murmu, Secretary General, All India Adivasi Coordination Committee.
Adivasis have called a 36-hour Assam bandh and threatened to intensify their agitation, which could add to the problems of the administration that is struggling to deal with militants
Login to add comments on this post.