The clashes between Bodos and Assamese Muslims have led to an officially estimated 58 deaths, which is widely acknowledged to be a gross underestimate, and over 4 lakhs have been made refugees in the last few weeks. While the violence was sparked by a few incidents that were unfortunately not responded to by the police and local administration, the area has witnessed past episodes of violence, including the ghastly Nellie massacre in 1983 when almost 3000 innocent Muslims were killed.  BJP is now adding a considerable amount of fuel to the fire by raising the slogan of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants as a way of both discrediting the ruling Congress government in the state and creating further cleavage between communities on the basis of religion that suits the Hindutva agenda.  Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited the area and urged the state government to take steps to counteract the rioting and also provided relief to the victims.  As the accompanying article by Dr. Asghar Ali Engineer indicates, all steps have to be taken to oppose the vicious propaganda by Hindutvawadis and others about migrants from Bangladesh as the cause of this crisis.

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