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Tuhin A Sinha
Monday , August 20, 2012 at 11 : 50

North-East: a volcano waiting to erupt


Around a week ago, I was chatting with a friend wherein I remember mentioning that there was more to the Mumbai rioting of August 11 than met the eye.

My speculation was based on a simple fact: the ethnic clashes in Assam and its retaliatory violence in Mumbai had coincided with the mass exodus of Hindus from Pakistan, who have some horrid stories to share about the way Hindus are still treated in Pakistan. I could sense that there was a larger design to the way the situation seemed to be unfolding. On one hand, Muslims were being provoked with suspect videos while on the other, Hindus were being pushed against the wall in Pakistan, evoking anger among Hindus here. The result was obvious: communal sentiments began to flare up once again, the social media becoming one of the key devices to aggravate the animosity this time around.

My speculation was also based upon the fact that conventional terror attacks have been on the decline. And terror groups, aided by Pakistan, can't be sitting idle for too long. I felt vindicated thus when the Union home ministry confirmed that these incendiary videos that were used to incite Muslims had indeed come from Pakistan.

Does the North East then mark a new chapter in the proxy war against India?

Quite certainly it does. And while this proxy war will definitely find Pakistan's support, it's not something which has been orchestrated entirely by Pakistan. The biggest culprit in the Assam fiasco is the Congress party, which has tacitly encouraged illegal migration from Bangladesh for decades now, despite the UPA government having been reprimanded on the issue by the Supreme Court. Today, the demography of Assam stands altered to such significant levels that animosity towards these illegal migrants is only obvious. However, far from addressing the issue, fake voter IDs and ration cards are readily issued to these migrants, thus legitimising their stay. The end objective of this is the Congress party's appeasement of minorities and its addiction to the politics of vote bank. What is particularly embarrassing is that our PM, who is a Rajya Sabha MP from Assam, had never spoken on the issue until the recent spate of violence rocked the state.

Now, while the government has finally woken up to acknowledge the problem, it is still far, far away from initiating corrective steps to address the issue conclusively. Thus, it is only natural for Pakistan, China or Bangladesh who have never been our best friends, to exploit this situation to its advantage.

In my book, "Of Love And Politics", when the Congress MP, Aditya Singh, travels to Assam on a fact finding mission, he is shocked by the sheer magnitude of the infiltration problem. He concludes that "The North East is a volcano which is waiting to erupt... if 60 years down the line, the North East ceases to be on the map of our country, I shall hold my party, the Indian National Congress, responsible for it."

If we go by recent anarchy, the volcano seems to have erupted sooner than expected.

The need of the hour is an assertive two-pronged approach. One, the government needs to evolve a consensus on dealing with the infiltration problem ASAP. Sadly, as in the case of black money, the government refuses to fix a number, in which case we continue to grope in the dark on the actual size of India's illegal population. Two, the government needs to come down heavily on the rogue Bodo groups, responsible for the biggest internal exodus in India's history. If the Bodos are allowed to get away with this misadventure, their next target could well be Assam's entire non-tribal population.

Sadly, by repeatedly beating around the bush for narrow political interests, the UPA government has once again put national security at stake.


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More about Tuhin A Sinha

Tuhin A Sinha is among the best-selling authors in India, a columnist and a screenwriter. Starting in 2006 with his first book, That Thing Called Love, an unconventional romance set in a Mumbai monsoon, Tuhin has written five novels. They include The Captain (formerly 22 Yards), Of Love And Politics, The Edge of Desire and The Edge Of Power. Tuhin is acknowledged among the most prolific Indian writers with a maverick knack to experiment with new genres. While his first book was an offbeat romance, The Captain was a cricket thriller that explored the underbelly of modern cricket. Of Love And Politics was a political thriller. His last two books which comprise the Edge series can be called socio-political thrillers with a strong feminist skew. Tuhin is a screenwriter of several popular TV shows, the most noteworthy being Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai on Star Plus. Apart from his fiction novels and scripts, Tuhin is a keen political observer. His columns on Indian politics appear regularly in India’s leading dailies. Tuhin has a regular blog on ibnlive.com. He also appears frequently on news channels on discussions around politics and cricket.