Shahiuz Zaman Ahmed


This book explores the citizenship issue in Assam where the Muslims and Bengali speaking Hindus are discriminated against by the state by way of the ‘D’ voters list. ‘D’ stands for doubtful voters and this is an insidious way of religious profiling resorted to by the state to marginalize minorities.


The state of Assam arbitrarily puts names of these groups in this dubious list in a register whereby these voters can’t vote and exercise their important political and civil right. Perhaps what is interesting about the book is that it also gives a brief history of the conflict between the Assamese and the Muslims and Hindus from West Bengal who were encouraged by the British pre Independence to settle and cultivate land in Assam for economic and political reasons. This was followed by a number of negotiations and pacts. A new dimension was added to this issue during and after the formation of Bangladesh when a large number of Bangladeshi citizens migrated to India and especially Assam. The Muslims in Assam are ‘deported’ back to Assam as the state alleges that they are Bangladeshi migrants. This leads to a real and brutal fear of rendering innocent citizens stateless- a grave human right violation.


The discontent against these Bengali speaking Muslims and Hindus still persist after so many decades and they are arbitrarily denied their basic citizenship rights. This issue is raised by All India Secular Forum, a national platform to consolidate secularism along with other organizations. A fact finding committee of AISF also went to the affected regions of Assam and spoke to a number of people and wrote an insightful report on the situation of the victims. This report is also a part of this book whereby making it a comprehensive reading on this topic.


Shahiuz Zaman Ahmed is a professor at the Guwahati University and an active member of AISF Assam. (Published By:Institute for Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution, Mumbai).

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