Due to an unfortunate turn of events a war of sorts has started between residents of two states of eastern India. Trouble started when on the 9th of november some prospective candidates from Bihar for a railway examination were denied entry into the halls in Guwahati. The reason was an increase in the number of “outsiders” occupying jobs in the state as opposed to the locals. As a backlash the denied candidates are holding up Assam bound trains via Bihar. What follows after that is a reign of terror. The hapless passengers are looted, thrashed and women passengers are molested and worst. This evening reports are pouring in of people of supposed Bihari origin being beaten up in Assam in retaliation and a separatist outfit has “ordered” them to leave the state.

Things hang on delicate balance as of now. Last I had heard, the high and mighty separatists had “banned” the screening of hindi films in cinema halls across Assam. Till last week it was so and according to the grapevine the distributors have decided to stay away from hindi movies for 3 months. Such regional turbulence is not new in India. In Assam and other north-eastern states this has been happening for 5 decades now. Western India also seems to be catching up fast. Complicated economics, social conditions, national and regional politics, inter-regional incompatibility and ignorance have all added to this hatred and lack of harmony between states and their natives.

Focusing on the present situation as regards the trains and the passengers, one common aspect that every report has is that the women have been bearing a major brunt of it. This would come as a shock for women from the north-east. In the region in the seven sister states women have always held an esteemed position. Never in their history have they been treated the way their counterparts are in some other parts of India. For a change there is a matriarchal society going full throttle to this day in Meghalaya. They enjoy a near equal position to their men in the society. Crimes against women are not non-existent, yet the general tendency of tainting their womanhood is a comparitively alien concept for the local population. Unfortunately the same amount of respect was not forthcoming from the group of hoodlums.

It breaks one’s heart to see such injustice being meted out to innocent and unsuspecting individuals whether they are men or women.

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