12 April, 2021

Fire In The Belly

A rail recruitment test, regional interests prove a molotov cocktail for Assam, Bihar. Updates.

Fire In The Belly
For Assam it was suddenly like reliving the nightmare of the anti-foreigner agitation days. Nearly two decades after, the state was back on centrestage with an orgy of mayhem and killing. What started off as a clash between Assamese and Bihari candidates appearing for a Railways recruitment test has spiralled into mindless violence. At last count, 30 Biharis, including women and children, had been killed—forcing the Assam government to call in the army and impose curfew in at least two districts. Noting the seriousness of the situation, Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee too has assured more central forces.

The spark of the present conflict can be traced to November 9 when candidates from Bihar who had travelled to different centres in Assam for the category D test conducted by Railway Recruitment Board (RRB), Guwahati, were prevented from writing the tests. The candidates went back with tales of woe, setting the stage for local politicians to exploit. Soon enough, train passengers from Assam and other Northeastern states passing through Bihar—all trains between Delhi and...

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