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|Caused by||Improper inclusion of foreign nationals in electoral rolls|
|Methods||Demonstrations, civil disobedience, rioting, lynching|
|Concessions||Passage of the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act|
|Parties to the civil conflict|
|Part of a series on the|
|History of Assam|
The Assam Movement (also Anti-Foreigners Agitation) (1979–1985) was a popular uprising in Assam, India, that demanded the Government of India to detect, disenfranchise and deport illegal aliens. Led by All Assam Students Union (AASU) and All Assam Gana Sangram Parishad (AAGSP) the movement defined a six-year period of sustained civil disobedience campaigns, political instability and widespread ethnic violence. The movement ended in 1985 with the Assam Accord.
It was known since 1963 that foreign nationals had been improperly added to electoral rolls—and when the draft enrollments in Mangaldoi showed high number of non-citizens in 1979 AASU decided to campaign for thoroughly revised electoral rolls in the entire state of Assam by boycotting the 1980 Lok Sabha election. The Indira Gandhi government that followed could not accept the demands of the movement leaders since it came at considerable political costs and the movement escalated to economic blockades, oppression, violent pogroms and lasting ethnic conflict. The political nature of this movement was heavily debated among scholars in the journal Economic and Political Weekly. The accord became possible under the Rajiv Gandhi ministry when the emphasis was on negotiation and compromise which both sides made, and particularly because Rajiv Gandhi was less concerned with Congress (I) electoral fortunes.
The Assam Accord did not solve the problem of foreigners' names in electoral rolls, primarily due to the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act, 1983 passed by the Indira Gandhi government soon after the disastrous 1983 elections that made it practically impossible to prove anyone in Assam was an illegal alien.
Political Demography of Assam
Assam, a Northeast Indian state, has been the fastest growing region in the Indian subcontinent for much of the 20th century with the population growing six-fold till the 1980s as against less than three-fold for India. Since the natural growth rate of Assam has been found to be less than the national rate, the difference can only be attributed to a net immigration.
Immigration in the 19th century was driven by British colonialism—tribal and low castes were brought in from central India to labour in tea gardens and educated Hindu Bengalis from Bengal to fill administrative and professional positions. The largest group, Muslims peasants from Mymensingh, immigrated after about 1901—and they settled in Goalpara in the first decade and further up the Brahmaputra valley in the next two decades. These major groups were joined by other smaller groups that settled as traders, merchants, bankers, moneylenders, and small industrialists. Yet another community that had settled in Assam were Nepali dairy farmers.
The British dismantled the older Ahom system, made Bengali the official language (Assamese was restored in 1874), and placed Hindu Bengalis in colonial administrative positions. By 1891 one-fourth the population of Assam was of migrant origin. Assamese nationalism, which grew by the beginning of the 20th century, began to look at both the Hindu Bengalis as well as the British as alien rulers. The emerging Assamese literate class aspired to the same positions as those enjoyed by the Bengali Hindus, mostly from Sylhet.
The Bengal Muslims, who came in mainly from Mymensingh, were cultivators who occupied flood plains and cleared forests. They were not in conflict with the Assamese and did not align with the Bengali Hindus. In fact the Assamese elite encouraged their settlement. In the post-partition period as Assamese nationalists tried to dismantle Bengali Hindu dominance from the colonial period the tea garden labourers as well as the Muslim Bengalis supported them. Ever mindful of being the neighbour of the populous and culturally dominant Bengali people, the Assamese were alarmed that immigration not only had continued illegally in the post-independence period but that illegal immigrants were being included in electoral rolls.
Immigration from East Bengal to Assam became cross-border in character following Partition of India—the 1951 census records 274,000 refugees between 1947 and 1951, most of who are estimated to be Hindu Bengalis. On the basis of natural growth rate, it was estimated that the immigrants numbered 221,000 between 1951 and 1961. In 1971, the surplus over the natural growth was 424,000 and the estimated illegal immigrants from 1971 to 1981 was 1.8 million.
Immigration of Muslims from East Pakistan continued—though they declared India as the birth country and Assamese as their language, they recorded their religion correctly. As the immigration issue was growing the immigrant Muslims from Bengal supported the Assamese—by accepting the Assamese language, supporting the official language act in contrast to the Bengali Hindus who opposed it, and casting their votes for the Congress.
The Assam Movement involved a tussle over the determination of immigrants, refugees and citizens as defined in their legal contexts. At the time of the Partition of India in 1947 when British India was divided into India and Pakistan the legal instrument prevalent that determined foreigners was the colonial-era The Foreigners Act, 1946. The law that determined Indian citizenship, The Citizenship Act 1955, was enacted a few years later in the context of the Constitution of India. In addition to these instruments, Assam had the National Register of Citizens for Assam (NRC) which was based on the 1951 census; no other Indian state had a similar document. At that time Assam constituted nearly the entire contiguous Northeast India and included the present-day Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya though it did not include Manipur and Tripura.
There were a number of attempts by the government to change the mechanisms of detecting foreigners or the meaning of Indian citizenship. In 1983 the Congress (I) government enacted the Illegal Migrants (Determnation by Tribunal) Act that modified the mechanism of determining foreigners in Assam, while keeping the old mechanism intact in the rest of the country. After the Supreme Court of India declared the Act unconstitutional in 2005, the government attempted to change the mechanism once again the same year, which too was declared unconstitutional the next year. The NRC was revised under the supervision of the Supreme Court of India and the final draft created in 2019. In 2019 the BJP government enacted the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 which created pathways to citizenship for immigrants of all religions except Islam, and since have refused to accept the draft NRC as a legal document.
Foreigners' Tribunals, 1964
After the 1961 census, the Registrar General of India estimated, with inputs from intelligence reports, that there were about 220,000 "infiltrants" in Assam from East Pakistan. In 1962 the central government devolved its power to detect foreigners in Assam to district police and administrative heads and created Border Police units in some districts. In 1964 the Foreigners (Tribunal) Order was enacted that created a mechanism to verify the citizenship of suspected infiltrants; and though tribunals could be created anywhere in the country, they were used primarily in Assam. At first four tribunals were created—in the undivided districts of Goalpara, Kamrup, Darrang and Nawgong where most infiltrants from East Pakistan were expected to have settled—but by 1968 the number had gone up to nine. In these tribunals the hearings were conducted by a single person, usually a magistrate, an officer which then had both executive and judicial powers. Many of the suspected infiltrants were illiterate poor and big landowners, who benefited from the cheap labour they provided, gave them legal aid to defend themselves at the tribunals. Among the many criteria determining the citizenship of the accused, oral affidavits by locally known citizens and inclusion in the electoral rolls were two.
In 1965, during the runup to the Indo-Pakistani war, the Government of India directed the Assam Government to expel Pakistani (later Bangladesh) infiltrators but the implementation had to be given up when a number of Assam legislators threatened to resign. These tribunals were finally ended in 1972 on the claim that most infiltrators were caught; and also because after the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971 the adversarial East Pakistan was replaced by Bangladesh, a friendly nation.
Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act, 1983
In the wake of the violence in the 1983 elections, the Indian government, led by Indira Gandhi, enacted the IM(DT) Act. This act was applicable only in Assam, whereas the rest of the country followed The Foreigners Act, 1946—the key difference was that whereas the onus of the proof of citizenship was with the accused, the IMDT Act put the onus of proof on the accuser. The Supreme Court of India repealed it in July 2005 as unconstitutional based on a public interest litigation filled by Sarbananda Sonowal, a former AASU student leader. In response, the Government of India passed the Foreigners (Tribunals for Assam) Order, 2005. This too was set aside by the Supreme Court in 2006.
Foreign nationals in electoral rolls
Ministry of External Affairs in 1963 reported for the first time that foreigners were being enlisted in Indian voters list by politically interested parties. Baruah (1986) remarks that ironically the position of the report is remarkably similar to the position taken by the Assam movement leaders at the end of the next decade. In August 1975, the Home Ministry had instructed the state governments to use criminal investigations departments to identify illegal aliens in electoral rolls. In October 1978 S. L. Shakdhar (the then Chief Election Commissioner) declared that foreigners' names were being included in electoral rolls in a large scale and that this was done at the demand of political parties—a claim that was repeated by a cabinet minister in the Rajya Sabha in November 1978.
These reports were noticed in Assam—AASU included "expulsion of foreigners" in their sixteen-point charter of demands in July 1978; and after Shakdher's announcement in October 1978 it called for a three-day program of protest demanding "reservation of 80 percent jobs for locals".
Mangaldoi Lok Sabha by-election, 1979
When the member of parliament from the Mangaldoi constituency died in March 1979 the Election Commission started the process for a by-election and in April 1979 published the draft electoral rolls and ordered a summary revision. Tribunals reviewed a list of about 47,000 doubtful names of which about 36,000 were processed—of these processed names 26,000 names (about 72 percent) were confirmed to be non-citizens. Though the issue of illegal aliens in electoral rools had been simmering for some years at the national official level, the large numbers at Mangaldoi brought it into sharp public focus and provided the immediate trigger for the Assam Movement—AASU launched its first protest program on 8 June 1979 demanding the "detection, disenfranchisement and deportation" of foreigners.
The review process were opposed by political parties, especially the involvement of the police and the executive (and not judicial) officers, and the Chief Election Commissioner, Shakdhar, halted the activity of the tribunals—the final electoral list of Mangaldoi was never released. The Charan Singh government fell on 20 August 1979 and the Lok Sabha was dissolved on 22 August 1979 and since fresh elections were announced the Mangaldoi by-election was cancelled. Shakdhar, who had earlier warned against foreigners' names in the electoral rolls announced a change his position in September 1979 and pushed the revision to after the 1980 general election polls.
Governments and electoral politics, 1979 to 1985
Government of India and Parliament
The Assam Movement began at a time of transition in New Delhi during the Morarji Desai government, the first non-Congress central government in India. Morarji Desai had come to power in 1977 following Indira Gandhi's Emergency after a historic election in which Gandhi lost her membership in parliament. But Indira Gandhi was able to come back to power very soon—in 1978 she split the Congress party to better defend herself and regained membership of the Lok Sabha via a by-election in Chikmagalur, a seat vacated by a party-man; in July 1979 she was able to bring down the Desai government by promising support to Charan Singh a breakaway leader; a month later she withdrew support to the Charan Singh government necessitating early general elections; and after the general elections in 1980 she became the Prime Minister once again. The 1980 elections were strongly opposed by the Assam Movement leaders, violence erupted, and polls in only three of the fourteen constituencies could be held. Significantly, Indira Gandhi tried to seek Muslim support in that election by citing the Assam Movement. Indira Gandhi then led the Government of India's administrative and political response to the Assam Movement and negotiated with its leaders. In October 1984 she was assassinated and her son Rajiv Gandhi became the Prime Minister who, having won a landslide victory in the 1984 Indian general election, settled the Assam Movement and a few other conflicts in a flurry of accords.
The Assam Movement successfully scuttled the 1980 Indian general election in Assam except for two constituencies in the Barak Valley; and the 1984 Indian general election elections were not conducted in the state at the same time as the rest of the country—they were conducted alongside the 1985 Assam Legislative Assembly election after the Assam Accord was signed. As a result Assam was largely unrepresented in the entire 7th Lok Sabha and part of the 8th Lok Sabha.
Government of Assam and State Assembly
During the entire duration of the Assam Movement, the Assam state government had been unstable. Even though the electoral backlash against Indira Gandhi in the 1977 elections was not felt in Assam, her party was defeated in the 1978 elections and Golap Borbora, a Janata Party leader, became the first non-Congress Chief Minister of Assam; it was a minority government set up with the support of PTCA and independents and outside support of the CPI(M) and other left parties. This government fell in September 1979 as a result of the split in the Janata Party and Jogendra Nath Hazarika became the Chief Minister with the support of the Congress, Congress (I) and the CPI. The Hazarika government too fell, within ninety four days in December 1979, when the Congress withdrew support and President's Rule was imposed for the first time in the state of Assam. Since the President's Rule could not be extended beyond a year Congress (I), originally with only 8 members, was able to attract defections from other parties, obtain the support of the CPI, and form a government in December 1980 under the leadership of Anwara Taimur, the only woman or Muslim to have been a Chief Minister in the post-Indian Independence Assam's history. The movement leaders challenged the legitimacy of this government and refused to recognize it. In June 1981 the Anwara Taimur fell in the state assembly and President's Rule was again imposed. There was another attempt to form a Congress (I) government in January 1982 under Keshab Chandra Gogoi, but it too fell and President's Rule was again imposed in March 1982. After each of the two Congress (I) governments fell, the Congress (I) led central government did not allow non-Congress government formations in the state.
At the end of the assembly term the 1983 Assam Legislative Assembly election was announced amidst expectation that there would be widespread violence and the situation was not conducive for election. The election was boycotted by the movement and a number of opposition political parties did not participate; and polling took place amidst extensive inter-ethnic violence. The Congress (I) won an overwhelming number of seats and Hiteshwar Saikia formed a government. This government had to compete with the movement for legitimacy; this assembly was dismissed prematurely in 1985 as a precondition of the Assam Accord and in the 1985 Assam Legislative Assembly election that followed the movement leaders won a majority.
Parties and positions
AASU and AAGSP basic position
|A foreigner is a foreigner; a foreigner shall not be judged by the language he speaks or the religion he follows. Communal considerations (either religious or linguistic) cannot be taken into account while determining the citizenship of a person; the secular character of the Constitution does not allow that.|
(Emphasis in original, AASU and AAGSP 1980:6)
|1951–||Review legal status of all aliens|
|1951–1961||Identify, probably give citizenship|
|1961–1971||Distribute throughout India|
The Assam Movement was led by the All Assam Students Union (AASU) with Prafulla Mahanta (president) and Bhrigu Kumar Phukan (general secretary) as the public faces of it. The movement leadership was augmented by an organisation called All Assam Gana Sangram Parishad (AAGSP) that was constituted in August 1979 by representatives from civic and regional political parties. Even though the relationship of the Assam Movement to the earlier Assamese Language Movement was clear the leadership were careful to kept the issue of language out—instead they staked their claims purely on the basis of population statistics and constitutional rights and presented a set of demands that were secular and constitutionally legitimate. They clearly defined who they considered to be foreigners and tried to project the problem as not local but constitutional. Despite these formal positions and the demands structured around constitutional values, movement leaders did use ethnic themes for political mobilization. The Assam Accord that concluded the Movement, in its Clause 6, called for protection of the "Assamese people".
Indira Gandhi (Congress (I)), who came to power after the 1980 Indian general election, provided the government position. She was the first prime minister to meet with the Movement leaders which she did in Delhi on 2 February 1980. She did not accept the demand to use the NRC 1951 and the Census report of 1952 as the basis for identifying foreigners and suggested 24 March 1971 as the cut-off date instead since she wanted to factor in the Liaquat–Nehru Pact of 8 April 1950 and her own agreement with Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1972. The cut-off date became the major stumbling block during the negotiations.
Political Party positions
The duration of the Assam Movement could be divided into five phases.
Phase I: June 1979 to November 1980
The general strike (a 12-hour bandh) on 8 June 1979, sponsored by AASU, demanding the "detection, disenfranchisement, and deportation" of foreigners could be considered as the beginning of the Assam Movement. This was followed by the formation of the All Assam Gana Sangram Parishad, an ad hoc coalition of different political and cultural organizations, on 26 August 1979 At the initial stage the protests were peaceful and the movement enjoyed wide popular support especially among the Assamese people as the Satyagraha program from 12th to 17th November 1979 demonstrated when estimated 700,000 in Guwahati and 2 million in the entire state courted voluntary arrests; but by the end of November, the initial optimism of a negotiated settlement gave way to pessimism. On 26 November a delegation of 17 student leaders submitted a memorandum to the President Neelam Sanjiva Reddy to stall the election, and the Home Minister held a meeting two days later to discuss the issue with opposition leaders and the Assam Chief Minister, but there was no solution. On 27 November 1979 AASU-AAGSP escalated the protests and called for the closure of all educational institutes and picketing in state and central government offices.
General Election, 1980
Mass picketing was arranged in front of all polling offices where candidate filed their nominations, in the first week of December 1979. No candidates were allowed to file nomination papers in the Brahmaputra valley. On 10 December, the last date for submitting the nomination papers, was declared as a statewide bandh. The government proclaimed a curfew at different parts of the state, including the major city of Guwahati.
At Barpeta, then IGP K.P.S. Gill led the police force in escorting Bagam Abida Ahmed to file nomination papers; they attacked protestors. Khargeswar Talukdar, the 22-year-old general secretary of Barpeta AASU Unit, was beaten to death and thrown into a ditch next to the highway at Bhabanipur. Talukdar was honoured by the Assam Movement as its first Martyr. The Hazarika government was dismissed and President's Rule was imposed on 12 December 1979.
Elections were held in only two of the fourteen Lok Sabha Constituencies in the 1980 Indian general election: Karimganj and Silchar.
Phase II: December 1980 to January 1983
On 7 October 1982, while leading a procession from Nagaon to Hojai in support of a bandh called by the All Assam Students Union, Anil Bora Was beaten to death at Hojai by people who opposed the bandh as well as the Movement.
Phase III: Election of 1983
This was a very critical and consequential period not only for the movement, but for the subsequent times as well. The Indira Gandhi-led government imposed assembly elections in the state as a challenge to the movement leading to widespread ethnic violence and breakdown of political order. The two-month old Keshab Gogoi government had fallen and the assembly dissolved on 19 March 1982, and under the then constitutional rules, a fresh election had to be held within a year. An amendment to the constitution to allow the maximum allowed period of President's Rule to two years, which required a two-third majority in Parliament to pass, was discussed but the effort was abandoned due to a lack of political alignment of the Congress (I), the left, and the opposition parties. By December 1982 there had been twenty-three rounds of talks between the government and the movement leaders to resolve the issue of identifying foreigners' names in electoral rolls; but the two parties found the biggest point of contention was the cut-off date to identify them.
In a conversation with journalist Shekhar Gupta in December 1982 the electoral campaign manager of the Congress (I), Rajesh Pilot, stated that the government intended to hold elections to politically finish the movement leaders.
Election and boycott
Even as the AASU-AAGSP leadership was returning to Guwahati on 6 January 1983 from yet another failed talk at New Delhi, the government announced that elections will be held with staggered polling on 14, 17, and 20 February 1983. The election was to use the unrevised 1979 electoral rolls—which meant the electoral rolls were corrected neither on the basis of 1951 which the movement leaders wanted nor on the basis of 1971 which the government was ready to accept; and it did not incorporate the names of those who had come of age to vote after 1979; though the Supreme Court of India ruled in 1984 that the 1979 electoral rools were legally valid. The AASU-AAGSP leaders were arrested when they landed at the Guwahati airport, and the Government of Assam imposed censorship on two local newspapers that supported the movement. The issue for this election was to primarily hold the elections with the expectation that a moderate to high polling rate would weaken the movement; and the movement leaders boycotted the elections. A private citizen challenged the elections in the Gauhati High Court on the argument that the 1979 electoral rolls were not available to the public, as required, but the government was able to avert legal intervention by advancing the election notification.
Nagen Sarma and Nurul Hussain temporarily replaced the AASU leaders arrested on 6 January, and they along with the All Guwahati Students' Union and the All Kamrup District Students' Union organised the anti-election campaign. Besides Congress (I), the Left Democratic Alliance (Congress (S), CPI(M), CPI, RCPI, SUCI and RSP) and the PTCA decided to participate in the elections. The two Lok Dal factions, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Janata Party, on the other hand, did not participate. The movement leaders decided to frame the elections as a do or die phase, calling the boycott "Assam's last struggle for survival", and used all means to stop the elections. They had the support not only of the extremist student activists, but also the majority of the local Assamese citizens. The movement leaders were thus able to revive the movement which had stagnated from 1981 to 1982.
Nomination, Campaign and Polling
The boycott program during the nomination period included blocking access to nominating centers by the general public, and local administration officers too agreed to a call to stay away from their duties. The government was aware of the possibility of poll disruption and violation and staggered the polling over three days; and it brought in 8000 officers from other states, additional battalions from CRPF, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, BSF and Home Guards for a total of 150,000 armed personnel—one armed man for every 57 voters. The protests against the election were widespread and included road blockages, bridge burning, kidnapping, attacks on election candidates their relatives, political workers, and poll officers.
The political party leaders made inflammatory speeches during the campaign—the railway minister Ghani Khan Choudhury from Congress appealed to the Bengali Muslim immigrants to retaliate in kind to violence, and Atal Bihari Vajpayee warned of dire consequences if elections were held. On 10 February, Indira Gandhi warned the immigrant Muslim community in the then Nagaon district that if they did not vote for Congress they will have to leave the state.
The pro- vs anti- election violence eventually led to complete breakdown of ethnic amity beyond mere Assamese-Bengali or Hindu-Muslim divide where every group clashed against every other group: at Nellie (Tiwa against immigrant Muslims); Kokrajhar (Boro Kacharis against Bengali Hindus and Muslims); Goreswar and Khairabari (Sarania and Boro against Bengali Hindus); Gohpur (Boro against Assamese Hindus); Dhemaji and Jonai (Mishing tribals against Bengali Hindus and Muslims); Samaguri (Muslims against Hindus); Dhaila and Thekrabari (Muslims against Hindus); Chaowlkhowa Chapori (Assamese Hindus and Muslims against Bengali Muslims). On 18 February 1983, during the Nellie massacre, a mob — primarily composed of indigenous Tiwas and semi-indigenous lower caste Hindus — killed thousands of suspected muslim immigrants, in 14 villages in Nagaon district.
Phase IV: March 1983 to May 1984
Phase V: June 1984 to December 1985
- ^ a b "If there were a number of 'foreigners' in only one constituency—Mangaldai—what about other constituencies?...Naturally then, the next step for the AASU was to oppose the 1980 Lok Sabha elections without a thorough revision of electoral rolls of not just in Mangaldai but in the entire state...AASU leaders gave a call to political parties to boycott the polls till the EC revised the state's electoral rolls." (Pisharoty 2019:30)
- ^ a b (Baruah 1999:116): "The citizenship status of many of the newer immigrants was ambiguous[...] The campaign also led to friction between the ethnic Assamese and some of Assam's "plains tribal" groups."
- ^ "By September 1980 the immigrant organizations had become a third force in the negotiations on the Assam movement's demands. The government invited AAMSU leaders to Delhi for consultation during the negotiations between the government and the movement leaders." (Baruah 1986:1196)
- ^ "[T]he movement leaders demanded that the central government take steps to identify, disenfranchise, and deport illegal aliens."(Baruah 1986:1184)
- ^ "The years since 1979 saw governmental instability, sustained civil disobedience campaigns, and some of the worst ethnic violence in the history of post-independence India, including the killing of 3,000 people during the February 1983 election." (Baruah 1986:1184)
- ^ (Baruah 1986)
- ^ "Implementation of Assam Accord". assamaccord.assam.gov.in.
- ^ a b "One of the first official admissions of this fact has been made in a publication of the Ministry of External Affairs as early as 1963. It is reported that 'enlistment of foreigners in the voters' lists has at times taken place at the instance of politically interested persons or parties." (Reddi 1981:30)
- ^ (Pisharoty 2019:28)
- ^ "Preparations to a bye election to the Mangaldoi parliamentary constituency in mid 1979 revealed that out of 47,000 alleged illegal entries of the names of foreigners brought to the notice of the electoral registration officers, 36,000 were disposed of and out of these as many as 26,000 or over 72 per cent were found to be and declared as illegal entries being those of non-citizens. What is true of the Mangaldoi constituency could be true of many other constituencies. No wonder, Mangaldoi became the rallying point of a renewed attack on the electoral rolls culminating in the boycott of the Lok Sabha poll in January 1980." (Reddi 1981:31)
- ^ "To treat Hindu immigrants from East Pakistan and what subsequently became Bangladesh as illegal, irrespective of what the citizenship laws state, would have alienated significant sections of Hindu opinion in the country. On the other hand, to explicitly distinguish between Hindu "refugees" and Muslim "illegal aliens" would have cut into the secular fabric of the state and would have alienated India's Muslim minority. To expel "foreigners" would also have political costs internationally in terms of India's relations with Bangladesh: the official Bangladeshi position is that there are no illegal immigrants from Bangladesh in India." (Baruah 1986:1192f)
- ^ "From the center’s point of view, readily giving in to the nationalists would exact a significant political cost: it would imperil its Bengali immigrant vote bank, 40 and treating Hindu immigrants from what had been East Pakistan as illegal aliens would have courted disaster in mainstream Hindu circles in the rest of the country. The “obvious” solution to this problem—of making an exemption for Bengali Hindus while declaring Bengali Muslim immigrants illegal—would open a unique can of worms, drawing into question the secular nature of the Indian republic as well as alienating Muslims at large, an important constituency for Congress. Finally, expelling Bengali immigrants would spell trouble for India’s relations with Bangladesh" (Butt 2017:90–91)
- ^ Some of the scholars who took part in the debate were Amalendu Guha, Hiren Gohain, Sanjib Baruah, Gail Omvedt, and others. The terms used in this debate were "chauvinism", "nationalism", "subnationalism" etc. (Kar, Manek & Lobo)
- ^ "As was the case in Punjab (see below), Rajiv Gandhi’s “decisiveness” garnered a great deal of credit. Unlike his mother, who “disliked making decisions,” Rajiv “hears his people and decides quickly—often immediately in the cabinet meeting.” The “fundamental difference” between the two was that while Indira was more interested in protecting Congress’ majority, Rajiv cared less about the party’s interests and wanted to be seen as a problem-solver." (Butt 2017:92)
- ^ "The Indian Parliament in 1983—at a time when Assam was largely unrepresented as a result of the election boycott—passed the Illegal Migrants (Determination of Tribunal) Act, making it difficult, if not impossible, to prove that someone was an illegal alien in Assam." (Baruah 1999:143–144)
- ^ a b (Weiner 1983:283)
- ^ a b (Weiner 1983:285–286)
- ^ "The 1951 census reported that 274,000 refugees had entered Assam since 1947. Most of these, it is believed, were Bengali Hindus." (Weiner 1983:285)
- ^ "Since immigration was no longer legal, recent Bengali Muslim migrants told census enumerators in 1961 that Assam was their place of birth and Assamese was their mother tongue. Bengali Muslims did, however, report their religion, thereby enabling the census commissioner to conclude on the basis of an examination of the data on the growth rate of Muslims that 221,000 Bengali Muslims had entered the state between 1951 and 1961, almost all illegally from East Pakistan" (Weiner 1983:285)
- ^ "In 1971 the census reported an increase of 820,000 Muslims, or approximately 424,000 more than could be accounted for by natural population increase." (Weiner 1983:285)
- ^ "According to government estimates the population of Assam increased from 14.6 million in 1971 to 19.9 million in 1981, or 5.3 million (36.3 percent). Had Assam's population increased at the all-India rate of 24.7 percent the population increase would have been 3.6 million. Moreover, according to the Sample Registration of the Government of India, the natural population increase of Assam was .5 percent less than the all-India figures in 1970-72 and 1.2 percent less in 1976-78. On the basis of these figures we can estimate that the immigration into Assam from 1971 to 1981 was on the order of 1.8 million. How much of this was migration from elsewhere in India and how much from Bangladesh is purely conjectural, although it is plausible to assume that most of it was illegal migration.(Weiner 1983:286)
- ^ Figure 3.5 (Saikia et al. 2016:52)
- ^ Figure 3.5 (Saikia et al. 2016:52)
- ^ (Chatterji et al. 2021)
- ^ "Throughout this century Assam has been the fastest growing area in the subcontinent. Its population has grown nearly sixfold since 1901 when it had a population of 3.3 million; India's population has grown less than threefold over this period." (Weiner 1983:282)
- ^ "Since there is no evidence that Assam's rate of increase was significantly different than that in the rest of India (in the 1970s its estimated rate of natural increase was actually slightly below the all-India average), the difference can only be accounted for by net immigration." (Weiner 1983:282)
- ^ "By the beginning of the twentieth century Assamese nationalists were pitted against the Bengalis as well as against the British, both of whom were seen as alien rulers." (Weiner 1983:283)
- ^ "Bengali Muslims reclaimed thousands of acres of land, cleared vast tracts of dense jungle along the south bank of the Brahmaputra, and occupied flooded lowlands all along the river. The largest single influx came from Mymensingh district, one of the most densely populated districts in East Bengal." (Weiner 1983:283)
- ^ "In any event, there had been traditional enmity between Bengali Hindus and Bengali Muslims; the Bengali Muslims had much to gain and little to lose by siding with the Assamese." (Weiner 1983:285)
- ^ "In this campaign to assert their culture and improve the employment opportunities of the Assamese middle classes, the Assamese won the support of two migrant communities, the tea plantation laborers from Bihar, and the Bengali Muslims." (Weiner 1983:284)
- ^ "One should not underestimate the extent to which the peoples of the northeast, and especially the Assamese, have a sense that they are a small people living next to a vast Bengali population eager to burst out of a densely populated region. Bangladesh (in 1980) had a population of 88.5 million, West Bengal (in 1981) had 54.4 million, and Tripura 2 million, for a total of 145 million Bengalis, making them numerically second only to Hindi speakers in South Asia, and the third largest linguistic group in Asia." (Weiner 1983:287)
- ^ " How many Bengalis entered and remained in Assam after the 1971 Pakistani civil war and the 1972 war between India and Pakistan is unknown. ... On the basis of these figures we can estimate that the immigration into Assam from 1971 to 1981 was on the order of 1.8 million. How much of this was migration from elsewhere in India and how much from Bangladesh is purely conjectural, although it is plausible to assume that most of it was illegal migration. The influx became politically alarming when the Election Commissioner in 1979 reported the unexpected large increase in the electoral rolls. To many Assamese it appeared as if the Bengali Hindus and Bengali Muslims together were now in a position to undermine Assamese rule." (Weiner 1983:286)
- ^ "Since immigration was no longer legal, recent Bengali Muslim migrants told census enumerators in 1961 that Assam was their place of birth and Assamese was their mother tongue. Bengali Muslims did, however, report their religion" (Weiner 1983:285)
- ^ "In an effort to dissuade the Assamese from taking these steps, Bengali Muslims sided with the Assamese on issues that mattered to them, by declaring their mother tongue as Assamese, accepting the establishment of primary and secondary schools in Assamese, supporting the government against Bengali Hindus on the controversial issue of an official language for the state and for the university, and casting their votes for Congress.(Weiner 1983:285)
- ^ "After the Registrar General of India in his report on the 1961 Census said 2,20,691 ‘infiltrants’ had entered Assam from East Pakistan – a fact backed by intelligence reports" (Pisharoty 2019b)
- ^ "India: G.S.R. 1401 of 1964, Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964".
- ^ "The Foreigners (Tribunals) Order, 1964 was enacted by the Central government through the use of powers granted under Section 3 of the Foreigners Act, 1946. Though the order, issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on September 23, 1964, had a country-wide jurisdiction, it was intended for the state of Assam, for all practical purposes."Pisharoty (2019b)
- ^ "In 1962 (sic), the government decided to appoint tribunals in the districts of Kamrup, Goalpara, Darrang and Nowgong, where a large number of migrants from East Pakistan had settled." (Correspondent 1979:1859)
- ^ "Following the order, four tribunals were set up in Assam. By 1968, the number of tribunals went up to nine." (Pisharoty 2019b)
- ^ "The hearings of these tribunals were conducted by a single person, generally a senior district magistrate. At this time the powers of the executive and the judiciary were not yet separated in Assam." (Correspondent 1979:1859)
- ^ " However it must he admitted that in the past many of these illiterate and poor people were provided with lawyers by big landlords (in many cases Assamese) who were interested in keeping them on the Indian side as they provided cheap labour." (Correspondent 1979:1859)
- ^ "The Proof of Indian citizenship could be ascertained through documents of land deeds, citizenship certificates or the inclusion of an individual's name in the electoral rolls. Oral evidence of such citizenship - an affidavit by a locally known Indian citizen that the man in question; was known to him as a genuine resident of the place - could also be accepted. A person's place of birth, his father's place of birth, the duration of his stay in a particular local - all these could be cited as proof that he was an Indian national." (Correspondent 1979:1859)
- ^ "In 1965 when relations with Pakistan were deteriorating, the state government under instructions from New Delhi began expelling Pakistani "infiltrators."9 But the process had to be stopped when eleven members of the state Legislative Assembly protested that Indian Muslims were being harassed in the process, and threatened to resign." (Baruah 1986:1191)
- ^ "The Government of Assam decided to wind up these tribunals in 1972 on the ground that most of such cases of 'infiltrants' had been disposed of. The decision was also probably influenced by the emergence of Bangladesh, when due to political considerations it was considered inadvisable to harp on the presence of 'Pakistani infiltrators' who of course were now considered - even if they could lie at some future date established as aliens - citizens of a 'friendly country'." Correspondent (1979, p. 1859)
- ^ "The act applies only to Assam. The rest of India has the Foreigners' Act 1946 which puts the onus on the accused to prove his/her Indian nationality." (Fernandes 2005:3237)
- ^ "The Supreme Court judgment (July 12, 2005) on the public interest litigation filed by a student leader-turned-AGP MP, Sarbananda Sonowal, struck down the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunals) Act, 1983 (IMDT Act) as unconstitutional." (Fernandes 2005:3237)
- ^ ". Ironically, at that time the government of India's position on illegal immigration from East Pakistan was quite close to the position later taken up by the leaders of the Assam movement. See the pamphlet on that issue published by the Indian government: Influx. Infiltration From East Pakistan (Delhi: DAVP, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India, 1963)." (Baruah 1986:1191f)
- ^ "(T)he Home Ministry issued instructions to the state governments in August 1975 asking the latter to make use of their criminal investigation departments to check the electoral rolls and if the names of foreigners are discovered therein, the fact should be brought to the Electoral Registration Officers for getting such names deleted from the rolls." (Reddi 1981:34)
- ^ "On October 24–26, 1978 (t)he CEC declared "I would like to refer to the alarming situation in some states specially in North-Eastern region where from disturbing reports are coming regarding large scale inclusion of foreign nationals in the electoral rolls." (Reddi 1981:31)
- ^ "Another disturbing factor in this regard, (Shakdhar) added : "the demand made by the political parties for the inclusion in the electoral rolls of the names of such migrants who are not citizens without even questioning and properly determining the citizenship status." (Barpujari 1995:25)
- ^ "On November 27, 1978 a cabinet minister, while replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha, confirmed that 'large scale inclusion of foreign nationals in electoral rolls, specially in the North-Eastern region, has been taking place." (Reddi 1981:31)
- ^ "(I)n July 1978, during a meeting, AASU had adopted a sixteen-point charter of demands to the state government which included 'expulsion of foreigners' among other demands." (Pisharoty 2019:17)
- ^ "On 28 October 1978, AASU registered its first reaction to Shakdher's comment by calling a three-day Satyagraha, including a dawn to dusk bandh in Guwahati demanding 'reservation of 80 percent jobs for locals'." (Pisharoty 2019:17)
- ^ (Pisharoty 2019:24)
- ^ "Preparations to a bye election to the Mangaldoi parliamentary constituency in mid 1979 revealed that out of 47,000 alleged illegal entries of the names of foreigners brought to the notice of the electoral registration officers, 36,000 were disposed of and out of these as many as 26,000 or over 72 per cent were found to be and declared as illegal entries being those of non-citizens." (Reddi 1981:31)
- ^ "Tribunals were therefore set up—where 'executive magistrates' conducted the proceedings against the alleged infiltrators, though at present the executive and judiciary have been clearly demarcated in Assam. And before you could say Jack Robinson, as many as 20,000 of these 'infiltrators' were identified and ordered to be deported." Correspondent (1979). "More in 'Infiltrants'". Economic and Political Weekly. 14 (6): 1859–1860. JSTOR 4368124.
- ^ "The Mangaldoi election put into sharp relief an issue that had been simmering for years and had even gained national prominence, and led to organized opposition to illegal aliens led by the All Assam Students Union (AASU), which kicked off a statewide strike to protest the infiltration issue in June 1979." (Butt 2017:90)
- ^ "The Assam movement began in 1979 after a bye-election to the Mangaldoi parliamentary constituency, which is located in an area with a heavy concentration of East Bengali immigrants, drew public attention to a rapid expansion of the number of voters since the previous election two years earlier. The event followed reports of fresh large-scale illegal immigration from Bangladesh into the state. On June 8, 1979, the All Assam Students Union sponsored a 12-hour general strike bandh in the state to demand the "detection, disenfranchisement and deportation" of foreigners." (Baruah 1986:1191–1192)
- ^ "All the political parties in Assam barring the regional parties—have criticised the procedure of involving the police and the executive magistrates in the ferreting out of alleged infiltrators." (Correspondent 1979:1860)
- ^ "It was at this point that the Chief Election Commissioner entered the scene by ordering that "the 1977 voters' list should remain as it is and no person's name deleted from the list on the ground of being a foreign national" - the order itself being reworded later under pressure to read "...on—the pretext of being a foreign agent"." (Correspondent 1979:1860)
- ^ "The Lok Sabha was dissolved on 22 August 1979 and the Mangaldoi by-election was cancelled without the final rolls being published." Pisharoty (2019, p. 29)
- ^ "(Reddi 1981:34)
- ^ (Pisharoty 2019:29)
- ^ "Though only three MPs were elected to the Lok Sabha from Assam in that general election, the Congress returned to power in New Delhi with a thumping majority" (Pisharoty 2019:45)
- ^ "The supporters of the movement succeeded in postponing the elections in 11 out of total 14 constituencies from Assam. Undoubtedly, this was a major success of the movement." (Hussain 2003:986)
- ^ "Indira Gandhi has already tried to exploit the situation to secure Muslim support. In her contrite letter to, the Imam of Jama, Masjid, Delhi, which drips with sympathy for the minorities, she also touches upon the situation in Assam." "Hypocrisy Unbound". Editorial. Economic and Political Weekly. 14 (48): 1933–1934. 1 December 1979. JSTOR 4368169.
- ^ The accords were: Assam Accord, Rajiv-Longowal Accord, Mizoram Peace Accord and the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord
- ^ "The years since 1979 saw governmental instability..." (Baruah 1986:1184)
- ^ For the 1978 election, the Congress had split into two—the Congress, led by the erstwhile Chief Minister Sarat Chandra Sinha and Congress (I) those in Assam aligned with Indira Gandhi who had split the party at the national level in the beginning of 1978.
- ^ "However, in the aftermath of emergency, the Congress Party lost the elections to the state legislature in 1978. For the first time a non-Congress government came to power under the leadership of Golap Borbora of the Janata Party. This was in fact a coalition government led by Janata Party and supported by the Plains Tribal Council of Assam (PTCA) and some independents. The CPM and other Left parties who had a strong presence of 23 members supported the Borbora government from outside." Hussain, Monirul (2003). "Governance and Electoral Processes in India's North-East". Economic and Political Weekly. 38 (10): 986. JSTOR 4413311.
- ^ "The 17-member Assam Janata Dal (AJD) formed by Hazarika, a former speaker of the state legislature, has the support of the Congress, the Congress(I), Janata (S), the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Progressive Democratic front. Borbora had been facing a persistent revolt in the Janata Party, engineered mainly by his fellow Socialists. The Marxists who had pitched in their 11 legislators to support him pulled the rug from under his feel as part of their policy of breaking with the Jan Sangh-dominated Janata." Louis, Arun B (30 September 1979). "Assam and Arunachal Pradesh CMs' heads roll in the aftermath of Janata Party breakup". India Today. Retrieved 6 January 2023.
- ^ "But Janata split up in 1979 and on 4 September 1979, the Chief Minister resigned and on the 7th September 1979, the Speaker, Jogendranath Hazarika formed the Government with the support of the Congress and the C.P.I. But the Congress and the C.P.I, informed the Governor that they withdraw their support. On the 12th December 1979, for the first time in the political history of Assam, Presidential Rule was imposed and the Hazarika Ministry was dissolved in tears after being in office for 94 days." (Rao 1987:471)
- ^ "No party had an absolute majority in the Assembly. There would be constitutional crisis if no ministry was formed before the end of the Presidential Rule. So the Congress (I) was called upon to form the Ministry. A Muslim Lady Anwara Timur formed the Ministry with the support of the C.P.I." (Rao 1987:471)
- ^ "The Taimur government formed as a result of defections to Congress (I) from other parties..." (Baruah 1999:128)
- ^ (Baruah 1999:129)
- ^ "Again, when the Ministry resigned in anticipation of its defeat on the floor of the House, the opposition was not given a chance to form the Government. This happened in ... Mrs. Anwara Taimur and Keshab Chander Gagoi (both Congress)..." (Siwach 1985:162)
- ^ "Under the guise of 'constitutional compulsions' and 'democratic rectitude', an enormous fraud is 'being perpetrated in Assam where in conditions which the Chief Election Commissioner has himself conceded are far from normal, elections are being sought to be held for the 126 seats and the 12 still unfilled Lok Sabha seats." (Editorial 1983:125)
- ^ a b (Kimura 2013:48)
- ^ "AAGSP and AASU took the position that the government should review the legal status of all those who had entered the state after 1951. Bengalis and other non-Assamese would have to produce some evidence of their citizenship. Foreign nationals who had come between 1951 and 1961 should be screened and probably given citizenship. Those who came between 1961 and 1971 should be declared stateless and distributed throughout India. And those who had come after 1971 should be returned to Bangladesh." (Weiner 1983:289)
- ^ a b "On August 26, 1979, the AGSP was formed as an ad hoc coalition to coordinate a sustained statewide movement." (Baruah 1986:1192)
- ^ a b "Among these were PLP, Assam Jatiyatabadi Dal (AJD), AJYCP, Assam Yuva Samaj, the Young Lawyers' Conference, Assam Sahitya Sabha, Karbi Parishad, Plain Tribes Council of Assam (Brahma) and All Assam Tribal Sangha. They were supported by the State Government Employees Federation besides various teachers' associations." (Pisharoty 2019:41–42)
- ^ "[T]here is a clear connection between the language movements of the 1960s and the 1970s and the antiforeigner movement." (Kimura 2013:49)
- ^ (Kimura 2013:49)
- ^ "Apart from Assamese cultural and historical symbols, the movement leaders drew on legal and constitutional arguments and symbols as well. Despite the presence of ethnic themes in the process of political mobilization, constitutional values significantly structured the demands of the movement." (Baruah 1986:1185)
- ^ (Pisharoty 2019:47)
- ^ "Five phases can be distinguished: (1) June 1979 to November 1980; (2) December 1980 to January 1983; (3) the election of February 1983; (4) March 1983 to May 1984; and (5) June 1984 to December 1985." (Baruah 1986:1193)
- ^ "On June 8, 1979, the All Assam Students Union sponsored a 12-hour general strike (bandh) in the state to demand the "detection, disenfranchisement and deportation" of foreigners. That event turned out to be only the first of a protracted series of protest action." (Baruah 1986:1192)
- ^ "In a satyagraha (symbolic disobedience of the law) in November 1979 nearly 700,000 people in the city of Gauhati and an estimated two million people in the state as a whole courted arrest." (Baruah 1986:1194)
- ^ "The first phase of the Assam movement started with demonstrations and rallies with widespread participation by ethnic Assamese in support of the demands. This phase began with a mood of optimism about a negotiated settlement and ended with considerable pessimism about the prospects of a solution and signs of increasing fissures in the Assamese ethnic coalition." (Baruah 1986:1193)
- ^ (Pisharoty 2019:42)
- ^ Kalita, Kangkan (1 February 2019). "Kin of 76 killed in Assam stir return awards". The Times of India. Retrieved 5 July 2019.
- ^ "On the 12th December 1979, for the first time in the political history of Assam, Presidential Rule was imposed and the Hazarika Ministry was dissolved in tears after being in office for 94 days." (Rao 1987:471)
- ^ " Of the 14 Lok Sabha seats in Assam, elections could be held on in two constituencies-Karimganj and Silchar. For one seat, Barpeta, four candidates filed nominations. The nomination paper of Abida Ahmed (wife of the former President of India, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, and a candidate of the Congress led by Indira Gandhi) was cancelled by the returning officer. With the cancellation of her nomination paper, other three candidates withdrew from the fray as their main intention was 'not to allow Mrs. Ahmed go uncontested'." (Boruah 1980:44)
- ^ "Tale of two villages & their martyr duo". telegraphindia.com.
- ^ "The State Assembly election of February 1983 marked the breakdown of Assam's framework of ethnic accommodation and of political order. The election was a direct challenge of the central government to the Assam movement." (Baruah 1986:1198)
- ^ "The State Assembly having been dissolved on March 19, 1982 the permissible span of President's Rule in Assam was fast coming to its end, thereby threatening to bring in its wake a constitutional deadlock." (Dasgupta & Guha 1985:844)
- ^ "The dissolution of the State Assembly meant that the day of reckoning in Assam was approaching because the constitution did not allow for the extension of President's Rule beyond a year and elections would have had to take place unless the constitution itself was amended." (Baruah 1986:1196)
- ^ "Some Opposition parties approved of an amendment to the Constitution at this stage, so that President's Rule could be extended for one more year to avoid the other alternative of going ahead with the 1983 polls, then fraught with the danger of large-scale inter-ethnic clashes. But they were not prepared to extend timely assurance of parliamentary support. that the ruling party needed for the purpose. In any case, the left parties were in principle opposed to such an ad hoc measure." (Dasgupta & Guha 1985:844)
- ^ Singh (1984, pp. 1062–1063)
- ^ "The twenty-third round of negotiations between the government and the movement leaders took place in December 1982 amid reports that the government was determined to hold elections in Assam by March 1983." (Baruah 1986:1198)
- ^ "However, the biggest stumbling block of the talks was the disagreement over the citizenship cut-off year. Meeting after meeting was futile only because no agreement could be reached over the cut-off year. Bothsides began to realize that the problem was more complex than they had initially thought." (Pisharoty 2019:77–78)
- ^ "A conversation in December 1982 between a respected Indian journalist, Shekhar Gupta, and a senior Congress Party official, Rajesh Pilot, spelled out the government's intention...Gupta asked why it was so important to hold elections in Assam immediately. RP: 'Because the agitators must be finished politically.' SG: 'It will be impossible...' RP: 'How can you say that? If you put 5000 of them in jail for the election period the problem is solved. It is only the mischief-mongers you have to tackle. The rest of the people will heave a sigh of relief. You don't know how powerful the government can be.'" (Baruah 1999:130–131)
- ^ "On 6 January 1983, as the AASU-AAGSP leaders were boarding their flight to Guwahati at New Delhi, the EC announced the dates for both assembly and parliamentary by-elections (for twelve seats) in Assam. The home ministry had informed the EC of its intention to revoke President's Rule by the end of February 1983. The dates chosen for voting were 14, 17 and 20 February." (Pisharoty 2019:88)
- ^ "The government broke off the Delhi talks rather late on January 5, 1983 and, next day, the decision for holding elections in Assam to fill up the twelve vacancies-in the Lok Sabha and to reconstitute a new Legislative Assembly was announced." (Dasgupta & Guha 1985:844)
- ^ "The election was to be held on the basis of the electoral rolls prepared in 1979, which had precipitated the Assam movement. No attempt was made to revise the rolls to incorporate the points of agreement between the movement leaders and the government-that is, to remove the names of post-1971 immigrants from the rolls. Indeed, apart from sidestepping all the thorny questions of illegal aliens that had rocked the state for three years, the use of four-year-old electoral rolls was problematic since it did not include voters who had come of age during the preceding four years." (Baruah 1986:1198)
- ^ "In its verdict of September 28, 1984, the Supreme Court of India upheld the Assam polls of 1983 and the related 1979 electoral rolls as legally valid. Whether the conditions prevailing were congenial to free and fair elections, in general, was outside its consideration." (Dasgupta & Guha 1985:852–853ff)
- ^ "The GOI arrested top AASU leaders, including Prafulla Kumar Mahanta and Bhrigu Phukan on January 6, 1983, at the airport, as they were on the way back from failed talks with the central government on this issue." (Kimura 2013:66)
- ^ "The Government of Assam ordered the Assam Tribune and the Dainik Asom, two prominent local daily newspapers that supported and led the movement, to restrain from publishing any matter relating to the current agitation, thus showing a strong tendency towards press censorship." (Kimura 2013:66)
- ^ "The question in the election was not who would win, but whether there would be an election at all. The holding of the election became the focus of a contest between the Assam movement and the center. An election with a moderate to high turnout would have weakened the movement's claims about its representativeness and its power capability. The movement leaders, as expected, called for a boycott of the elections." (Baruah 1986:1198)
- ^ Singh (1984, pp. 1064–1065)
- ^ (Kimura 2013:66)
- ^ (Kimura 2013:67)
- ^ (Kimura 2013:66–67)
- ^ "In the later part of 1980, the central government became oppressive towards the movement. Mass support did not last long, and from 1981 to 1982, the movement stagnated." (Kimura 2013:69)
- ^ (Kimura 2013:66)
- ^ (Kimura 2013:67)
- ^ The government prepared for the anticipated disruption and poll violence by mobilizing large contingents of military and police forces from the rest of the country. The estimated need for security personnel was so high that the election was staggered over three days to allow for the movement of security personnel." (Baruah 1986:1200)
- ^ (Kimura 2013:67)
- ^ (Kimura 2013:66–67)
- ^ "Chaudhuri, a Bengali Muslim from West Bengal who was used by the Congress to mobilize the state's Bengali-speaking immigrant Muslims for the elections, said in a public meeting in Assam, 'If they kill one of you, you kill four of them. The Government will support you.'" (Pisharoty 2019:111–112)
- ^ "Vajpayee, during a speech on 7 February 1983, in Guwahati said a 'a river of blood' would flow in Assam if elections were allowed to take place." (Pisharoty 2019:111)
- ^ (Pisharoty 2019:112)
- ^ "In a detailed investigative report, the Indian journalist Arun Shourie called the violence a "Hobbesian war of all against all: They testified not so much to "communalism" as to the total breakdown of governance: in Nellie Lalung tribals killed Bengali Muslims, in Kokrajhar sub-division Boro Kacharis fought Bengali Hindus and Muslims; in Goreswar and Khairabari Sarani and Boro Kacharis fought Bengali Hindus; in Gohpur Boros fought Assamese Hindus; in Dhemaji and Jonai Mishing tribals fought Bengali Hindus and Muslims; in Samaguri Muslims killed Hindus; in Dhaila and Thekrabari again Muslims killed Hindus; in Chaowlkhowa Chapori Assamese Hindus and Muslims together killed Bengali Muslims. And each community that was a victim in one place was a predator in another. Shourie (1983)" (Baruah 1986:1199)
- ^ "The attitude to the election, however, did not vary only across the Assamese-Bengali divide." (Baruah 1986:1199)
- ^ "...the majority of the participants were rural peasants belonging to mainstream communities, or from the lower strata of the caste system categorized as Scheduled Castes or Other Backward Classes." (Kimura 2013, p. 5)
- ^ "Tiwas' role in Nellie neglected: Author - 30 years after massacre, writer wants better understanding among communities". www.telegraphindia.com. Retrieved 18 September 2022.
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