Nine Migrant workers mistaken for child lifters attacked by mob

30 May 2018: Nine migrant workers from Odisha and Madhya Pradesh were attacked by a mob on 28 May in the evening when these workers were travelling by bus from Kachirapalayam to Kallakurichi at Mathur in Villupuram district, who mistook them for child traffickers.

The workers had come to Kachirapalayam on 23 May to work at a rig borewell unit. Disappointed with the contractor at this unit who had not paid them the assured wage, they decided to move to Tirupur where their fellow villagers were working as daily wagers in the garment industry.

A few young men of Chellampattu village mistook them for child lifters and tried to board the bus to question them. As the bus moved before they could board it, they alerted some locals of adjacent Mathur village. When the bus reached Mathur, villagers stopped the bus and attacked the nine workers.

Police officials managed to save the workers and sent them to Kallakurichi Government Hospital for treatment. The Kachirapalayam police have registered a case against 50 unidentified youths of Mathur village.

According to the police, WhatsApp messages doing the rounds claiming 200 child traffickers from north India are in Tamil Nadu is creating a mass anti-north Indian sentiment in the state.

Assam: Government-appointed panel suggests farmland be reserved for ‘indigenous people’

18 May 2018: A committee was appointed by the BJP government in Assam in February 2017 on protection of land rights of indigenous people. According to this committee, the transfer of agricultural land should be restricted to people indigenous to the state. The state government has declared that it would implement the recommendations of the committee.

The committee in its report has suggested that non-indigenous people could be allotted non-agricultural land in towns and cities – but not at the expense of an indigenous person.

According to the 1951 Census report, an indigenous person is defined as anyone “belonging to the state of Assam” and speaking any one of the languages and dialects spoken in the state. The new Brahma committee rejects this definition, calling it incomplete and saying that it leaves room for misuse.

The Assam Accord, signed in 1985 following a movement against alleged migration of Bengalis, defines a citizen as anybody who entered the state before 24 March 1971. The same criterion is being used to include people in the National Register of Citizens, which is being updated for the first time since 1951 in a bid to identify ‘illegal immigrants’. The Brahma committee report insists that “the most serious threats to the land rights of the indigenous people of Assam” comes from “unabated mass infiltration” from Bangladesh.

The citizenship issue along with the reservation of right to land for indigenous communities only is an attempt to alienate Bengalis residing in Assam for several decades and the Muslims in order to polarize the state and its people.

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