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Thank (God or whatever), we don’t live in African countries like Central African Republic or many other countries where killing people in the name of religion and race is a day-to-day affair. Sectarian violence claimed around 100 lives in CAR in the past two days. Those died include Muslims as well as Christians. Both the sects have their own militia, to “protect” from each other! No community is above racial bias and everywhere there are people who take sadistic pleasure looking at the misery of others. But the issue is can racial intolerance be taken for granted, especially in 21st century?

Information technology has increased manifold the pace of natural transformation in a society, creating a bigger and bigger a ‘global society’. Technology has enabled even an illiterate labourer to have a ‘friend’ somewhere across the globe. But there is still CAR, Pakistan and for that matter India, shedding blood every day in the name of race and religion.

Although the current agitation over “only ILP” demand is very unlikely to shame the state like CAR, it is time to ask isn’t already too much? The government is shy of calling it communal and the pressure groups claim it is not so. They “only want protection for the indigenous people”. Still, the third life was lost including one unintentional murder in the three-month-long agitation. Even then the non-tribals are calm as ever. Their silence does not mean they are not angry or agitated. They just don’t have the numbers, to put up a bold face. It is not strange that not a single organisation among dozens representing non-tribal communities has dared raising any voice of protest.

These incidents must have given the “much-desired” sadistic pleasure to perpetrators, despite their “own people” being put behind bars for the crimes. They may have taken it (being arrested or jailed) as a “sacrifice” for a “greater cause” – to save the community from “aggression” of the outsiders. Neighbouring Assam has made thousands of such sacrifice, to drive out the Bangladesh immigrants, but to no avail. As a whole, the people of Assam have now learnt to ignore communal tension, except for in some sensitive pockets. At least, the capital Guwahati, which is also the heart of the region, has almost no chance of falling prey to communal waves. Sadly, the scene is completely different 100 km away in Shillong. While the rest of Meghalaya is nearly free from anti non-tribal violence, the capital known as ‘Scotland of East’, ‘Pine City’, ‘NE’s educational hub’, and what not, is drowned in panic and insecurity. There is no other way for the minority non-indigenous Indians, but to learn to live in insecurity or think options of leaving for greener pastures, till time heals the situation.

(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on December 7, 2013)

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