Daya Varma and Vinod Mubayi


Hyper-nationalism within multi-national countries is the new curse of the postcolonial era. More often than not it acquires murderous overtones such as exhibited by Hindutvawadis of Sangh Parivar, but experience has shown that none is more virulent than the United Liberation Front of Asom, which deserves to be called the United Lynching Fascists of Assam.


The armed goons of ULFA massacred 48 Bihari migrant workers in Tinsukia, Dibrugarh and Dhemaji districts in upper Assam on January 5 and another 14 two days later. ULFA wants to clear Assam of “mini Bihar, mini Rajasthan, mini Kolkata” and more. If Kolkata can become a minority Bangla speaking city, what is wrong with other Indians going to Assam?


Bihar is an impoverished Hindi speaking province. Biharis have gone to different parts of India, away from their families not to seek pleasure but in search of livelihood. Everywhere they get brutalized. They worked as farm labor in Punjab and had to run away during the Khalistani movement. They are foreigners in Bangladesh.  They are not safe either in Kashmir or in Maharashtra. But their fate in Assam is the worst.


Either India is a nation state or not. If it is, no one is illegal in any part of India. What is sacrosanct about Assam remaining a majority Assamese province and other states also demanding the same? This nefarious nationalism has been catered to both by the government and left activists in the past and seems to be a particular problem in India.


If the government of India can arm itself to the hilt by acquiring nuclear weapons, surely it can defend its own citizens within its jurisdiction. But it does not. Organizations like ULFA cannot be contained by mere dialogue; a few such groups change their course only to be replaced by ones that are worse. Notwithstanding this, the government has the machinery to protect its citizens within its  boundaries and it should do so.

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