75 Years of Independence: Victims of Partition Still Await for Their ‘Amrit Mahotsav’ in Detention Camps of Assam
I am no pessimist or someone who intends to relate every moment of celebration, with some sad, unfortunate memories. However, I am writing down this article today, as the ‘Victims of Partition’ are in no way, a mere memory of any yesteryear but are an existing group of people, even at the present date, a part of which, still awaits justice. Justice, in the form of allowing them a minimum dignity to live freely in the free land of India and to be called Indians.
75 years have passed by since the time India got its Independence. The butchers of Bharat Bhumi bayed for blood and the Hindus of East and West Pakistan were sliced between the swords of the fanatics and the guns of the insanely communal authority there. Those who came running to this side of the border, to save their women, children and their Dharma were accepted in some parts of India, while disowned in some others. Speaking particularly about Assam, the influx theory of Partition was set to pace and even the Bengali Hindus who were living in this part of India, dating back many decades or centuries to the Indian Independence, were also marked as illegal infiltrators to put up a screen of hatred, fear and exclusion against the persecuted community and their look-alike by some leaders with vested interests and the same theory kept on peddling for years, which continued to generate generations of hate and anger.
Today, most of the Indian states are of the opinion that the Bengali Hindus came in and occupied large chunks of area within Assam, whereas it is the basic truth that Barak Valley of Assam has always been a Bengali dominated region and the inhabitants here are not illegal migrants but obviously, a part of them have their linkage or have migrated from the then East Pakistan or Bangladesh. And that part of the population, under every circumstance have all their rights to ask for a dignified life and shelter for themselves in India, as they are victims of a situation that they neither choose or agree to.
Today, as we celebrate the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav, to mark the 75th Year of Independence, a good number of those ‘Victims of Partition’ are still waiting for a ‘Amrit Mahotsav’ of free and independent life. The worst part of this tale is that many Bengali Hindus, who are originally Indians are also being served Foreigner Notices or pushed into Detention Camps, maybe because they have a Bengali name and the Bengalis are by default doubted to be Bangladeshis in this part of India. The reason I say this is because, almost every other community is declared as the original inhabitant in Assam, based on their community identity but the Bengali Hindus are the only big group of people in Assam, who have to prove their citizenship time and again before the authority. It sometimes feels like the whole NRC process in Assam has been devised only for weeding us out.
I require rejoicing in Indian Independence. I require to commemorate the sacrifices of the thousands and lakhs who laid down their lives, for me to be free enough to stay in a land, to be able to write any piece of article, challenging the authority and administration at any point of time. But at the same time, I require my fellow brothers to be free. Illegal immigrants and ‘Victims of Partition’ can’t be intermixed. The ‘Victims of Partition’ are the responsibility of this nation and hence the latter deserves all basic rights that every Indian citizen enjoys. It is me and you who have to raise the voice for our men in the detention camps. The people at the top chairs, who didn’t care for this group for the last 75 years, won’t even care for another 75 years, if we don’t care to push them to do the hard work.
The author of this article is a student of Assam University Silchar