Saturday, September 20, 2008

'Operation Clean Drive' and Backlash

Once bitten twice shy - but for some, they never seem to learn a lesson. It was thought that the administration would learn a lesson from their mistake that they made around same time last year when they passed on the baton to juveniles instead of weilding the baton themselves which led to tension along Arunachal-Assam border. But no. They made the same mistake again this year and even supported the act. The result- economic blockade along National Highway NH-52, the lifeline of Arunachal Pradesh, by All Assam Minority Students' Union (AAMSU) against the recent drive to detect and deport illegal migrants by students' bodies of Arunachal, damage of public and private vehicles bearing Arunachal registration, attack on the people of Arunachal along the stretch of Kimin & Banderdewa (Assam side) and finally injuring of 12 protestors by law enforcing agencies to bring the situation under control.

It all started with All Papum Pare District Students' Union (APPDSU) and All Nyishi Students' Union (ANSU) serving quit notices on 6th September to illegal migrants to leave the state within 5 days, in the wake of reported increase in cases of burglary, theft, conspiracy to murder and other serious crimes allegedly involving the so-called 'illegal Bangladeshi' migrants at Capital Complex. The first phase of 'Operation Clean Drive' was carried out on September 12th where the supporter's of students' union supposedly took the law into their own hands and physically went about evicting the 'illegal Bangladeshi migrants'

This provoked the All Assam Minority Students' Union (AAMSU) to clamp indefinite economic blockade at Banderdewa and Kimin-the two entry points to Arunachal and to take on the streets vandalising the vehicles bearing Arunachal registration and assault on the passenger's on 18th of September; alleging that unnecessary and unlawful harrassment has been meted out to the genuine minorities from Assam living at Arunachal Pradesh with law enforcing authorities becoming just a mute spectator to the entire drama.

“We have decided to impose an indefinite economic blockade on Arunachal Pradesh in protest against the anti-migrant drive which saw an exodus of at least 2,000 to 3,000 Muslims from Arunachal Pradesh. We announced our decision on the road blockade at a meeting, which was attended by 10,000 Muslims, at Laluk in North Lakhimpur yesterday. The union strongly condemned the atrocities meted out to the innocent labourers by student unions in the name of detection and deportation of illegal migrants,” Rahman said from Laluk over phone today.
However, with the interference of district administration from both the states, the situation has been diffused a bit and a meeting of the officials of both the districts Papum Pare and North Lakhimpur has been fixed for tomorrow to discuss the matter in presence of public and the unions. The outcome of the meeting is awaited.

Now the question that comes to mind is had this 'ugly situation' been averted? And the answer is, hopefully, yes, had the administration weilded the baton themselves and had carried out the detection and deportation of illegal migrants plaguing the state, lawfully. I wonder, why didn't the administration learnt from their past mistake of allowing students' union to carry out 'Operation Clean Drive' last year which resulted in almost similar kind of tension? Why did the administration shirked away from their responsibility this year too?

(Picture at top- source The Arunachal Times)


  • Buru

    Well analysed.A government should never delegate its responsibilities, esp in acutely sensitive cases like this one, onto extra-judicial bodies. ANSU & AAPSU can at best be described as public vigilantes. While vigilantes everywhere usually takes up issues with popular public support, if left unchecked, or if assisted by the state, it has been found to be a surefire recipe for lawlessness. This has already happened to a large extent in AP where bodies like ANSU dictates its whims and fancies on the government of the day due to the aforementioned causes.
    Then again, the case of Bangladeshis is a serious one, esp in view of what happened to neighbouring states,as also to our own state( Chakmas, Hajongs, Nepalis, Lisus, Mikirs and what not).Also being Bangladeshis and Muslims they are sadly an appealing target for Hindus, Christians, Assamese and Arunachalis alike.It is a heartrending situation if the plight of the refugees are considered,as also the plight of tribals caught in retributive violence in Assam. The AP Govt can easily control this by prevention rather than knee-jerk reactions like these. How? Having laws wherein outsiders cannot own land, the Bangladeshis have to rent somebodys house to stay in AP. So why dont the state Govt pass a law making it mandatory for all house owners to take the documents of all new rentees to be verified by police before they are permitted to rent a house, with strong punishment for defaulting landlords?

    * This episode of assaulting of Arunachalis in Assam and blockade should also make organisations like ANSU to reflect on their own brutal blackmailing tactics wherein they blockade the capital or target a particular community on their whims and fancies on issues real or imagined.

  • Rome Mele

    Sandwiched between the border and Assam, is certainly a recipe we would least prefer but would have to acknowledge it for life long.
    Same thing happened few years ago in Roing. Idu students took laws in hand for some sort of cleansing drive, and the result was quite apparent - economic blockade at the shantipur gate ( the last town in the assam border ) and which we have to compromise every time, just because nothing can be done. Their land, their laws... thats what suffices.
    But, however its not that contrast from what we Arunachali as well believe or take pride of - we're different tribes pooled in together to assume that we are worthwhile to be considered united, which seldom does.

    Now, what happens in Roing is of, all together different nature. If you're an Idu, and if its the Adi that Muslim has problem with; then you can go scot free ( but however with some initial verifications of course ) ... and the same applies true for vice-versa.
    Interesting thing is, even the Assam police supports it. And why wouldn't they, when AP police does the same?

    Well, solution is something that seems elusive...

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