GUWAHATI: Assam has a population of over 31 million with an area of 78,438 square kilometers; it is also a home of several ethnic communities. The large scale migration from Bangladesh has significantly altered demographics in India’s northeastern states, leading to social, economic, and political tensions between tribals and Bangladeshi Muslim settlers.
In all these communities the Bodo communities and its leaders in Assam assert that Bangladeshi Muslims are using their growing power to impose their culture and religion in the area.
There is a history of violent conflict over land in Assam between the indigenous Bodo tribals and ethnic Bengali Muslim settlers dating back to 1952, with subsequent violent clashes occurring in 1979-1985, 1991-1994, and 2008.
The most recent riots and violence between Bodos and Bangladeshi Muslims erupted in July 2012 in the BTAD districts of Kokhrajar, Chirang, and Dhubri. According to the Asian Centre for Human Rights, 77 people were killed and over 400,000 displaced from the violence, including both Bodos and Bangladeshi Muslims.
Although the immediate cause of the riots was the targeted killings of four Bodo men by Bangladeshi Muslims, Indian political and security analysts attribute the violence to larger economic, social, and political issues.
Featured image: UB