» 08/21/2012, 00.00
INDIA - PAKISTAN
Muslim threats, nationalist fantasies and the 'Great Assam Exodus'
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."
Hindu nationalists, not Pakistan, behind Assam hate text messages
At least 20 per cent of the web pages blocked by the Indian government came from radical Hindutva groups. Pictures and videos showed doctored self-immolations from Tibet with inflammatory captions. Ultranationalist Hindus tried this way to increase their influence among Tribals in northeast India.
Caritas India trains tribal and Muslim community leaders to promote peace in Assam
The goal is to re-establish harmony between the two communities, divided by communal violence in July. Unrest left 88 people dead, 400,000 people displaced. In addition to training, Caritas provided 6,000 kg of rice and mosquito nets to 2,000 families living in refugee camps set up by the Diocese of Bongaigaon.
Christmas tea to reconcile tribal Bodo and Assam's Muslims
A diocesan NGO in Bongaigaon is behind the initiative. In July residents were hit by floods and sectarian violence. Church and Caritas are working together to bring peace to the two communities.
Islamabad, victory for Paul Bhatti and APMA: Jesus Christ is no longer banned in texting
The commitment of the Special Adviser and Catholics led to the cancellation of the name from the list of prohibited terms in text messages. Bhatti decisive collaboration between the government and authority for telecommunications. AsiaNews disproves claims by some media, which confer the victory to under-Secretary Akram Gill.
Church launches the Gospel via text messages
The project is the brainchild of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Commission on Biblical Apostolate, and involves the sending of texts and animation via mms to the mobile phones of subscribers. The Commission secretary underlines the initiatives’ importance in attracting young people by speaking their same language.
"Adopt a Christian from Mosul": A Christmas gift to survive winter
As Iraqi troops advance in the Nineveh Plain and Mosul, a new wave of refugees could overshadow the fate of other refugees who found hospitality in Kurdistan. People need kerosene, winter clothes, aid for children, and money for rent. The campaign AsiaNews launched two years ago is more urgent than ever. Give up a superfluous gift to offer refugees an essential gift for life.
Pastor of Amadiya: Mosul’s Christian refugees, torn between emergency aid and the longing to return home
P. Samir Youssef
In a letter Fr. Samir Youssef describes the situation of refugees, exiled from their home for more than two years. They are closely following the offensive to retake Mosul, although their homes and churches "are for the most part" burned or destroyed. With the arrival of winter there is a serve lack of heating oil, clothes, food and money to pay for their children’s school bus. An appeal to continue to support the AsiaNews campaign.
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