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» 08/21/2012
INDIA - PAKISTAN
Muslim threats, nationalist fantasies and the 'Great Assam Exodus'
by Nirmala Carvalho
Almost 300,000 people from north-eastern India flee Karnataka and Maharashtra. New Delhi blames Islamabad for circulating revenge text messages following sectarian violence between tribal Bodos and Muslims settlers in Assam. For activist Raghuvanshi, the problem is rooted in tensions generated by Hindu nationalist forces.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - New Delhi and Islamabad could be facing another diplomatic crisis as a result of a recent major population displacement within India. Hundreds of thousands of people from Assam have in fact fled Bangalore (Karnataka), Mumbai and Pune (Maharashtra) after they received death threats via the Internet. The messages, which were posted mostly on Facebook and Twitter, warned workers from north-eastern India that Indian Muslims would take revenge against them for sectarian clashes last month in the state of Assam. For India, Pakistan is behind this hate campaign, but Islamabad has denied any involvement, calling on New Delhi to back up its claims with evidence.

In Assam, violence between tribal Bodos and Muslim settlers left 80 people dead in July. This has sparked the panicked flight of about 400,000 people from both communities, some finding shelter in refugee camps set up by the local Catholic Church. Tensions eventually spread to other Indian states where Bodos and other ethnic groups moved in search of work.

Last week, panic began spreading when text messages and photos on social networks began fuelling rumours. About 300,000 people from north-eastern India, mostly students, crammed railway stations trying to escape, fearful they might be targeted by Muslims for retaliation.

At present, the exodus has stopped and things are getting back to normal thanks to cooperation among the various Indian states involved. However, it is unclear who posted the first intimidating messages online. For New Delhi, the culprits are in Pakistan. Islamabad has denied the accusations, calling on India to show its evidence, which has not been forthcoming.

"Violence in Assam is localised with its particular history and context," human rights activist Lenin Raghuvanshi told AsiaNews.

However, for Raghuvanshi, who is director of the People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR), such conflicts "have repercussions that explode in internal conflicts fuelled by the nationalism of fascist forces."

In his view, "India's greatest threat is an internal exodus provoked by internal nationalist groups (supporters of the Hindutva ideology) or external groups like Muslim fundamentalists."

 


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See also
08/24/2012 INDIA
Hindu nationalists, not Pakistan, behind Assam hate text messages
11/21/2012 INDIA
Caritas India trains tribal and Muslim community leaders to promote peace in Assam
by Santosh Digal
12/14/2012 INDIA
Christmas tea to reconcile tribal Bodo and Assam's Muslims
11/24/2011 PAKISTAN
Islamabad, victory for Paul Bhatti and APMA: Jesus Christ is no longer banned in texting
01/22/2008 PHILIPPINES
Church launches the Gospel via text messages
by Santosh Digal

Editor's choices
IRAQ-ITALY
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul," the thanks of the Patriarch Louis Sako; the concerns of the Bishop of Kurdistan
by Bernardo CervelleraThe head of the Chaldean Church is grateful for the AsiaNews campaign and hopes that "this chain of solidarity will reach far and wide”. Helping refugees to remain in Iraq. But many want to flee abroad. The bishop of Amadiyah where thousands of displaced people have found haven in churches and homes: We also help the Arabs (Muslims), and Yazidis, for free and without looking at our confessional differences.
ITALY - IRAQ
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul" to respond directly to Iraq's emergencyAsiaNews is launching a fundraiser to support Christians targeted by the Islamic State, thus responding to a request by the Patriarch of Baghdad and Pope Francis's urgent appeal "to guarantee all necessary assistance - especially the most urgently needed aid - to the great multitude of people who have been driven from their homes, whose fate depends entirely on the solidarity of others." More than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes leaving everything behind and now have nothing to live on. To help them, five euros a day are enough. The funds raised will be sent to the Patriarchate of Baghdad, which will distribute them according to the needs of each family.
CHINA - VATICAN
Wenzhou bishop and priests slam government's campaign against crosses and churches in Zhejiang
by Eugenia ZhangFor Mgr Vincent Zhu Weifang, from the official Church, the campaign of destruction is increasing social instability. It is real persecution against the Christian faith. The bishop apologises for failing to intervene sooner. He was hoping that the campaign would end quickly. Catholics and Protestants suffer injuries as they attempt to defend their sacred buildings. For priests in Wenzhou, the campaign is unfair and touches buildings that have all the right papers. Such "stupid acts" by the government are undermining social harmony.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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