In the last week of July 2012, the Bodoland Territorial Autonomous Districts (BTAD) administered by the autonomous Bodoland Territorial Counci of Lower Assam, India, witnessed ethnic violence reducing huge numbers of the opposing factions of the Bodos considered original inhabitants of the area and the Migrant Bengali Muslim populations into refugees, piled away into school and college buildings which became defacto relief camps.
The BTAD area comprising of Kokrajhar, Dhubri and Chirang districts wore the look of a deserted landscape giving it an eerie silence. Village upon village of both ethnicities lay burnt, little everyday household items stewn about as people picked up whatever they could in the rush to run away. Fire was used by both sides as a tool of terror with great effect.
The official number of those killed in the violence in the area has constantly risen with the area witnessing more violence in recent days, At the time of writing this, the official figure has crossed 90. But, what IDPs are talking in whispers in the camps are totally different figures. At the Bhaoragiri camp, which houses more than 6000 people of the Bengali Muslim community, people put the figure of those missing from that particular camp alone, at a whopping, 300 missing-presumed dead, this number included a rather large number of children and women and this from a single camp alone.
Displacement in Lower Assam in particular and the North East in general is not a new phenomenon, it has been used by both state and non-state actors as a tool towards political gain making resulting sometimes in the mass exodus of whole communities, almost amounting to a sort of ethnic cleansing.
As the interplay of communal politics overtakes the prospect of a possible humane resettlement in the present scenario of the Bodo-Bengali Muslim Migrant issue and In the course of their displacement, the Bodos and the Bengali Muslims are amongst a long list of ethnic people who have now lost their land, political and citizenship rights, dignity and their humane values in India's North-East.