Though the violence in the eastern Indian state of Assam has been building for years, state officials say they were caught unaware, while others claim that the government was deliberately negligent.
There is a numbing familiarity to the riots that struck the eastern Indian state of Assam this month, leaving 48 dead and 400,000 people homeless. The violence had been building for months and even years — thousands of years.
So why, critics ask, were the authorities caught by surprise despite clear warnings of impending conflict?
“The district authorities should have seen the tension building up and acted sooner to prevent the kind of violence that we have seen since,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director of Human Rights Watch.
The Bodo tribe in the finger of land between Bangladesh and Bhutan has long been feeling squeezed by Muslim Bengalis immigrating from Bangladesh, one of the most densely populated countries on the planet. In addition to having less communal ideas about land ownership than the Bodos, the Bengalis, whose numbers are growing, increasingly threaten the Bodos’ dream of having an independent state. ...