Remembering 30th October 2008

Few days back we remembered the  serial blasts that rocked  Assam on 30th October 2008. Over hundred people died belonging to diverse ethnic, linguistic and  religious identities that day. The perpetrators  intended to do maximum damage  because the targeted places were extremely crowded.

Immediately after the blasts speculations started on who might have done that. Though Assam has been a hotbed of terrorism, considering the magnitude and impact of blasts everybody started pointing fingers at the “Jihadi” elements ,though no Jihadi terrorist outfit was known in the state till then (and even now).

I was about 5 kms away from two blast sites that day. Telephones lines were jammed  and so no phone call was possible for long. Finally I managed to call the landline number at home and learnt that all were safe.

Then  I  received a call from a senior from our Kolkata office. He is a sensible and sensitive Bengali gentleman,  lived in Assam for long and is thorough in Assamese language and culture. He talked about the blasts and asked me who might have been behind the blasts. I do not remember what I said but his conjecture was baffling.  According to him “Adivasis “might have done the act. Even more astonishing was the sound of a triumph while he said so.

The Bengali gentleman’s speculation was based on another horrific incident that happened in Guwahati on 24th November 2007.

An  Adivasi  girl was stripped in broad daylight  by some hooligans. The girl was participating in a demonstration in Guwahati when  a clash broke out between the demonstrators from the tea tribe community called as Adivasis and the roadside traders. The police inaction during the clash has been a question mark.

The news spread across the country and most of  the all India news channels questioned if a civil society existed in Guwahati. Also the media sounded extremely communal  terming it as an attack by “Assamese” on poor defenseless “Adivasis”.

But  now we are happy to learn that the girl has recovered from the trauma of humiliation, speaks confidently in front of television camera and even started a political career by joining a political party and carrying on the fight for the justice of her community.

Let’s come back to the bomb blasts on 30th October 2008. Investigating agencies have concluded that a local terror outfit (not of Adivasis) were involved in the act. Even the chief of the extremist outfit, currently in captivity reportedly made confessions. Some of the terrorists involved are already killed in encounters. We do not know if legal processes would continue for those who are still alive.

I remember the Bengali gentleman’s words from time to time, though we are not in touch in recent times. Many of us try to justify acts of terror on various grounds. 9/11 is for some a response to American imperialism, 26/11 is a reply to Indian atrocities in Kashmir and perhaps  30/8 according to the Bengali gentleman  is an attack against “Assamese Molester Community”

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