22 October, 2020

A Bridge Too Far

The state and civil society need to mount a Herculean effort to bridge the chasm between Bodos and others

Sandipan Chatterjee
A Bridge Too Far

Assam is going through one of those phases of history so bereft of light where one is capable of believing the worst about fellow humans—or to wonder what it is to be human. A visit to some of the 300-odd camps, which have sprung up during the last fortnight, gave us a taste of the language of hate and horror that has clouded the Bodo Territorial Area Districts (BTAD) and its adjoining districts in lower Assam. Listen to Jayashree Mushahamyan, a twentysomething Bodo woman at the Commerce College relief camp in Kokrajhar: “Muslims are so cruel and greedy. I heard one of them slit the throat of his pregnant wife so that he could claim compensation from the government for those who died in the violence last week.” It’s pointless to ask if this is real, or merely an apocryphal tale spun to make sense of a local universe gone toxic. We are driving through Chirang, Dhubri and Kokrajhar a week after one of the worst Bodo-Muslim clashes have ripped people apart. It’s like travelling through a war zone. Charred houses...



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