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Karbi Anglong: 'Self-destruction' zone of Asom

Written by: Staff

Diphu, Apr 6: Naxals may have been giving sleepless nights in nine states of India, but in Karbi Anglong they not only take part in democracy but have also sent their representative to Parliament thrice.

However, this domain of Naxals, though they love to call themselves CPI(ML), is slipping into anarchy and lawlessness with simple Karbi and Dimacha people getting confused between extra doses of regionalism, naxalism and militancy, political observers say.

For the past three years Karbi Anglong had fratricidal killings, thousand hour bandhs, political horse-trading, militancy and extortion.

''It is near impossible to maintain a normal life here. Whoever can afford, have sent their wards outside the district for education,'' said Mr Nirmal Rongpi, a government employees.

Karbi Anglong is an autonomous district run by a district council. Instead of using autonomy for self rule and development, the councils have become the political theatre of horse-trading and turncoats with an eye on government funds. As a result insurgency has sprung up on ethnic lines.

'' There is no guarantee in the district that you will live another day. Extortion notices are coming from everywhere. It comes from political parties as well as insurgent groups,'' said Paniram Boro of Howraghat.

But even that has not dampened the political heat as the four constituencies of the district are going to polls next Monday. Last time the Congress and the Autonomous State Demand Committee(ASDC) shared two seats each but the advent of the BJP and remergence of the CPI(ML) have changed all that.

The ASDC, despite having an understanding with the AGP, is a divided house and the CPI(ML) stands to gain. But the BJP's growth is phenomenonal. ''It is because all others have shown their colour in the past three decades. Why not give them(BJP) a chance,'' said Shankar Roy, of Diphu market, saying all non-Karbi votes are going to BJP.

Diphu may be an exception because of large non-Karbi votes but not the other three constituencies. The CPI(ML) is clawing back to Karbi politics with organised cadre base replacing ultra regionalism of the ASDC which is melting because infighting among the leadership.

The Karbi Anglong and the five seats they provide to the Assam Assembly is an appendage to Asom politics and nobody really bothers.

Hence, bitter fight is on between the CPI(ML), ASDC, BJP and Congress negating the progress made by the civil society during the eighties and early nineties.

Further, militancy in Karbi Anglong has grown on ethnic lines with both Karbi and Dimacha militants fighting one another despite the ceasefire. In the process, more than 300 ordinary villagers were killed and 72,000 rendered homeless between September and December last year.

The Karbi Militant Groups UPDS have been accused of backing the ASDC and targeting the opponents. That is why the police are keeping their fingers crossed to keep the polling violence free.


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