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Do we want a peace born out of tolerance? Or do we want a peace that is the means for a much greater purpose in the onward journey of civilisation?


Sometime in October 2001 a laminated and framed letter appeared on the gate of a small park in downtown Manhattan. The author of the letter had lost her husband in the terrorist strike on the World Trade Centre two months earlier. Please, let there be no more killing, pleaded the writer in a letter which had been published by the Chicago Tribune and posted at the park gate by an unknown person.

That widow’s plea echoed the phrase made famous by Gandhi: ‘An eye for an eye will only make the whole world blind’.

This conviction must have resonated strongly with others bereaved by the 9/11 attacks, for many joined a campaign to establish a Department of Peace in the US government. Many also rallied together in 2006 to celebrate a hundred years of Satyagraha – since it was on September 11, 1906, that Gandhi first made a public appeal for non-violent civil disobedience.

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Over two lakh persons are still housed in relief camps in Dhubri, Chirang and Kokrajhar districts of Lower Assam, in the wake of a series of violent clashes. This is down to about half the peak of nearly five lakh people in camps, making it one of the largest humanitarian emergencies in independent India. All these internally displaced persons fled from their villages in fear of violence, and many because their homes were torched and belongings looted. There is little hope that everyone will be able to return home in the immediate future.


The camps are lodged mostly in schools and college buildings; sometimes a few classrooms and a courtyard house a few thousand people. The Assam state government assumed full responsibility for the camps, and its officials coped with the sudden explosion of the refugees. The state supplied food, some money for utensils and clothes, and ensured primary health protection.

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by Ram Puniyani

The Assam violence between Bodos and Muslims, alleged by many to be Bangldeshi infiltrators, has a long chain of repercussions. The number of dead is nearly eighty. Killings are continuing and the people who have been displaced have been over 4 lakhs. There is no exact statistics to tell us how many of the displaced are Muslims and how many are Bodos, still roughly some investigators have put the figure of Muslims 80% and Bodos 20%. The few reports which have come out tell us that the condition of the all refugee camps is abysmal, much worse of those where Muslims are living. Meanwhile many a voices have come up to express their own opinions.

 

The BJP leaders have strongly asserted that the whole violence is due to the Bangla Deshi infiltrators, whose number is estimated as per the flight of one’s imagination ranging from 10 million to 20 million or even more. It is alleged that they have encroached, taken over the land of the local natives, which is causing the dissatisfaction and so the hate for them. This hate in turn is at the root of violence. This is one case where displacement overshadows the violence.

 

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