What hypocrisy! Even before the cacophony of the Independence Day celebrations could come to a close, parts of the nation was rocked by violence with migrants from north east fleeing Chennai, Bangalore and Maharashtra. Some 6,800 north easterners fled Bangalore on three special trains on Independence Day, most of them quitting their jobs and leaving without waiting for their salary in mortal fear, despite assurances of security from the political class, who had no takers. What a great way to celebrate our Independence Day!
Earlier, Mumbai was a witness to a communal confrontation between two groups. As we entered the auspicious 66 years of Independence, with fluttering tricolours, pompous speeches and cries of being a free nation, what indeed were the undercurrents going on as the flag flapped in its glory? Enough of the double standards.
We are not free. At least our minds are not liberated from fears of our own kind. Let’s not fool ourselves. Over half a century later, the country is still entrenched in the British curse of factionalism. There is palpable fear amongst migrants as well as the natives. .
Though politicians have assured 24x7 security to immigrants, no body is willing to take risks, and justifiably so. The problem today ought to be placed at the door step of politicians, who have encouraged the influx to the point that it has begun to threaten locals. We have seen this trend in Goa, where politicians, including a former chief minister, had the audacity to trumpet that he was elected on migrant vote bank and therefore was not under any obligation to meet the needs of traditional voters from his constituency. Over the years, elected representatives have sent a message that immigrants are either more equal to the sons-of-the soil, or that they can do no wrong. The truth is that in the obsession to win elections, successive governments have lost touch with natives, and have gone overboard to please the immigrant vote bank. This has created a sense of insecurity amongst locals. In quest of achieving this dubious goal, Communidades have been destroyed and efforts are on to legalize illegalities, with immigrants often being seen as the prime beneficiaries. It is this attitude that triggers such unrest.
At this juncture, the governments in the strife-torn region must bring sanity immediately. Since SMS were the source of the psychosis, all SMS must be blocked till peace returns. Telecom companies ought to track senders of the messages and help bring the madness to an end.
The unrest in Assam has its genesis in fear. Evidently, the retaliatory psychosis was orchestrated in an effort to give a fitting message to those who unleashed violence against immigrant Muslims. But in this game of one-upmanship, locals as well as the immigrants are the losers –- because immigrants lose their jobs and locals suffer loss of hands, specially, in the hotel industry because replacements are hard to come by. Many from Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland are engaged as cooks, captains and waiters in many hotels, especially restaurants serving Chinese and north Indian cuisine. This has to be understood by both sides. There are no winners in this fracas. Only losers!