Outsiders always carry along a bigger security risk in any rural or semi-urban areas in the world. A good soul entering some virgin Amazon forest with the sole intent of just knowing them will not be accepted easily. Locals always look at new faces with skepticism. The trend is intense with indigenous tribals. Most of them feel entry of any outsider into their territory an impingement on their rights. And why not, they have in their subconscious minds the history of bloody invasions of thousands of years. If not war, the current presence US in middle-east countries and that of China in African and Latin American nations do not have any holy intention. Such presence of outsiders, however, brings immense benefit for the respective regions and nations. The current status of India is unimaginable without the British coming to rule here over 400 years ago.
The ratio of migration is more among people or race with wider exposure to the world. In the globalised world, hardly any corner is left untouched by migration. They migrate on different accounts – on job assignments, in search of jobs, to look for trade opportunities etc. Most migrations have financial reasons. The outsider earns a living, of course by serving the foreign soil. On many occasions, an outsider is preferred over a local due to the former’s less social obligations which makes him deliver more towards the job. But, at the same, the outsider runs the risk of being the first target of social evils. Local criminal gangs or so-called militant groups often target them and do not touch locals fearing bigger repercussions. On one hand, the outsider is appreciated for better work efficiency, while on the other, he bears the brunt of perennial local issues. The kidnapping of two bank officials in the backward Garo Hills region of Meghalaya is a case in point.
The kidnappings – five of the particular bank have been abducted this year itself, according to an official – targeting the non-indigenous communities have been carried out with a strategy not to invite the public wrath. Everyone – from militants to political leaders – care about ‘public sentiment’. There has been no visible concern so far from the main political parties over the kidnappings, let alone any protest. These parties used to be very vocal when it comes to complex issues such as influx and demographic change. The outsiders’ fate is to run such risks till they moved into bigger cities where identity issues do not get prominence.
(Published as editorial in The Meghalaya Guardian on August 13, 2014)