Why the North East is angry;
Five dead. Curfew still on, with the few hours relaxation in a day, not because situation has improved as such, but to give people a breather and let them buy their essential commodities, and clearly there is nothing much to suggest that situation will improve soon in Assam. For parents and elders in Manipur, whose children may be pursuing their higher education at Guwahati and elsewhere in Assam, these must be tense days, even though many of the young students may have come back home for their winter vacation. Other than elders and parents of children pursuing higher education at Guwahati and elsewhere, the restive situation in Assam must still be a cause for worry for many more whose children could not return home as their train need to stop at Guwahati or any other railway station in Assam. Already panic buying of fuel has started in Manipur and though CAF and PD Minister Karam Shyam may have assured that the State still has adequate stock for the next five days, the fact is, most of the petrol pumps witnessed serpentine queues and many more shut down, unable to meet the sudden rise in demand. Making things worse is the report that the Indian Railways authorities have been asked to stop movement of goods trains, including trains carrying petroleum products to the North East citing the volatile law and situation at Assam. Not yet a return to the by gone years, when serpentine queues at petrol pumps were the order when an economic blockade was underway, but there is no guarantee that Manipur would not see a repeat of the past and ironically this time it would not be due to any disturbances on the National Highways.
And as things stand today, prices of many commodities have shot up all underlining the point that Assam is the gateway of the North Eastern States. Shut off Assam and one literally shuts off the supply chain to the North East and this is where it becomes increasingly clear that the BJP led Government at the Centre failed to read the pulse of Assam and her people. Or more likely the Centre was given inputs, which only they would have loved to hear and as things now demonstrate, utterly wrong information. This is what is hard to digest for Assam is under the BJP and the question is how wrong inputs could have reached the Central leaders of the saffron party. It is also not hard to understand why Assam has risen so strongly to the proposal that the Citizenship Act would grant citizenship to all those who came to India before December 31, 2014. Not only does this go against the 1971 cut off year set in the Assam Accord and for which an NRC was conducted recently, this also goes against the spirit and substance of the Assam agitation from 1979 to 1985. To put in bluntly, what Assam is opposed to is large scale infiltration from neighbouring Bangladesh and as the recent NRC showed, of the 19 lakh people not documented, many of them were Hindus. The CAA seeks to address this but to the people of Assam, an infiltrator is an infiltrator and religion has no relevance to it. This is the bottomline and interesting to see too that the united front which the North East previously put up against the then CAB has been nullified with the Centre announcing that the said Act will not be enforced in areas which come under the 6th Schedule and areas where the ILPS is in force.