AIMC–NCCI Consultation on Assam (September 27, 2012)
New Delhi, Sep. 22: Former Chief Justice of India, Justice A M Ahmadi, said here today that the provision of 50/50 in the Bodoland accord of 2003 was unconstitutional.
He said that the Bodo population being only 27 percent of the Bodo district, partisans of a future Bodoland state might resort to forcing others out to reach that mark.
Justice Ahamdi was speaking at a civil society consultation on “In Solidarity for Peace and Justice in Assam” at YWCA here. The consultation was called on the initiative of All India Milli Council and National Council of Churches in India.
The consultation had representation from several Muslim organizations, including Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, besides a substantial representation of church leaders.
Representatives from Assam included tribal activists and leaders, including senior advocate Nazrul Haque Mazarbhuiyan of the Assam High Court and Bodoland Territorial Council Member Afjal Hoque Sarkar.
In his address National Integration Council Member John Dayal drew a parallel between the atrocities on Christians of Kandhamal in Orissa and the Muslims as well as Bodo refugees languishing in relief camps in Assam.
Dayal said in all such cases the state machinery failed to help the victims who were left to their own devices.
Mazarbhuiyan refrained from speaking on the ground of sore throat. However, a paper written together by “all the representatives from Assam” was read out by one of the delegates.
On the mention of “ethnic cleansing” of 4.5 lakh Bangla-speaking Muslims from the Bodoland Territorial District in the paper, Suhas Chakma, director Asian Human Rights Council, objected. He said the term was too accusatory for a consultation that sought to resolve the conflict.
Sanjay Roy, a right to food and human rights activist, said that the announcement of a grant of Rs. 30,000 for each house burnt by mobs was too meagre to be of any help.
He also wondered at the heirarchy of sorrow as represented in the judiciary’s stance. “The Supreme Court took suo moto notice of the displacement of one lakh persons in Noida, but no such notice was taken of 4.5 lakh persons driven out of their homes in Assam”. That showed some people’s sorrow was greater than that of others in the eyes of the law.
Prof. Eqbal Hussein of Jamia Millia Islamia’s Law Faculty regretted that the amount of Rs. 30,000 was too small. He suggested that money from the Prime Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund should be made available for the rehabilitation of the victims as what had happened in Assam did come under the definition of disaster.
The most forceful presentation was made by the MCLA, Afjal Sarkar, who said he was representing everybody in the BTDA - both Bodos and non-Bodos - as a member of the Bodoland Territorial Council.
Saying that about 70,000 Bodos and 4.5 lakh Muslims had been driven into refugee camps, he broke down and sobbed. He said a judicial enquiry under a serving or retired Supreme Court judge should be instituted to look into the “mischief by power-hungry trouble-makers.” As a rule, neither common Bodos nor Muslims created any trouble and lived in peace with each other, he claimed.
He wanted quick rehabilitation of the victims as they could not continue to live in sub-human condition of the camps where “even cattle would not live.” As the homes of the victims had been burnt down, the citizenship documents and property papers too were destroyed. Asking them to show their papers before being allowed back into their villages would be unfair, he added.
He said the “terrorists must be caught and disarmed.” Licensed and unlicensed arms must be surrendered before the government, Sarkar said, pleading that it was important for peace.
All the mischief had been created in the name of Bangladeshi infiltrators. For that the Bangladesh border with Assam must be sealed properly. The Bhutan border with Assam also must be sealed as that is the source of weapon smuggling and a terrorist haven.
In his address Milli Council General Secretary Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam said that the consultation was a major initiative for the prospective solution of the conflict.
The consultation passed an 11-point resolution. Dr Alam said a nine-member delegation would meet the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister to present it to them. A nine-member monitoring committee on Assam was also formed at the meet.
The programme was conducted by Supreme Court lawyer Mushtaq Ahmed Alig.
The following resolutions adopted.
Civil Society Consultation
In Solidarity for Peace and Justice in Assam
Held on September 22, 2012 at YWCA of Delhi Auditorium under the auspices of the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) and All India Milli Council (AIMC) in collaboration with human rights, Muslim and other minority organizations and institutions and participated by experts, scholars, legal luminaries and religious leaders.
- The civil society expresses concern over the recent violence in the western part of the state of Assam causing killing and displacement of a large number of people, arson, loot and damage of properties and livestock, and obstruction to agricultural production.
- The civil society demands restoration of peace and normalcy in the affected areas and rehabilitation of all displaced people, including those living in the relief camps since 1993 and also those forced to leave their houses in July 2012, in their native places restoring possession of their lost properties and reconstructing the burnt houses, restoration of educational atmosphere in the affected areas, providing adequate food, clothes and other bare necessities of life, including medical facilities to the affected people.
- The civil society urges the government to come out with a clear cut comprehensive policy on the rehabilitation of those displaced earlier and in July 2012.
- The civil society demands the government to include in the above proposed policy on rehabilitation the process and mechanism developed to ensure security and protection to woman inmates in the relief camps, representation to the woman organizations/ groups in the steering committee formed for implementing the policy besides provision for woman service providers in the relief camps and constitution of women grievance redress cells in the police stations in Assam.
- The civil society appeals to the government to raise the amount of “up to Rs 30,000” to at least Rs 5,00,000 to reconstruct houses as it’s too meager.
- The civil society demands seizure of total illegal arms and ammunition possessed by any groups.
- The civil society urges the government to constitute a committee to probe who was responsible for the controversial sms leading to havoc created among North-East people in South India and elsewhere and ensure the return of all those persons of the North-East to South India and elsewhere.
- The civil society urges the government to seal borders completely with both Bhutan and Bangladesh to put a final stop to the infiltration and terrorist activities.
- The civil society demands the governments both at the centre and in the state to address the root cause of the crisis realizing that although they are trying to control the situation, yet the permanent solution to the problem is still elusive.
- The civil society emphasizes upon negotiations between the Bodos and non-Bodos who had always been maintaining good relations between each other and finally, establish again harmony and peace in the Bodoland Territorial Autonomous District (BTAD).
- A 9–member monitor-committee is constituted with co-conveners Mr Samuel Jayakumar, Exec Secretary NCCI and Dr Mohammad Manzoor Alam, General Secretary AIMC to pursue the resolutions and follow-up.