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Eyes wide shut: on the unrest in Upper Assam

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The killings in Upper Assam point to the polarisation in the State 
It would be facile(आसान ) to see the gunning(शिकार ) down of five Bengali men in Bisonimukh-Kherbari, near Tinsukia in Upper Assam, on November 1 as an isolated(अलग ) act of violence or even another of the periodic(आवधिक) eruptions(विस्फोट) against non-Assamese people in the State. The context(संदर्भ) is crucial( महत्वपूर्ण) here. The killings both symptomise and deepen the fault lines between the Assamese and Bengali communities because of the ongoing exercise to update the National Register of Citizens as well as the Centre’s plan to secure parliamentary passage for the Citizenship(नागरिकता ) (Amendment(संशोधन)) Bill, 2016. At the heart of the schism(फूट /संप्रदाय) is the fate(किस्मत/भाग्य) of those eventually(अंततः ) left out by the updated NRC. Four million didn’t make it to the final draft published in July, and while the final numbers will be known only when the elaborate(विस्तृत/व्यापक ) process of claims, objections(आपत्तियों) and verification draws to a close, there are certain(कुछ/निश्चित) known knowns at this point already. The ‘illegal(अवैध/गैरकानूनी)’ Muslim immigrant(आप्रवासी/परदेसी) unfortunately(दुर्भाग्यवश) has few speaking on her behalf. But her Hindu counterpart(समकक्ष ) is the battleground(युद्धक्षेत्र), with ethnic(जातीय ) Assamese nativist groups advocating(वकालत ) an even-handed approach while the ruling(सत्तारूढ़) BJP governments in Delhi and Dispur are keen to cast the protective(सुरक्षा)cover of the Citizenship Bill on grounds of persecution(उत्पीड़न) in her country of origin(मूल). Groups claiming to represent Assamese and Bengali interests have observed(मनाया /स्वीकार्य) shutdowns and counter-shutdowns. And while a party with a core ethnic Assamese kernel such as the Asom Gana Parishad could unequivocally(स्पष्ट) oppose(विरोध) absorbing(अवशोषित ) ‘illegal’ Bengali Hindu immigrants, those with a broader vote base have had to hedge(बचाव /घेरना) through innovative(नवीन/अभिनव) strategies(रणनीतियों). These include(शामिल/सम्मिलित ) speaking in different voices (the Congress in the Assamese-dominated(प्रभुत्व/बहुल) Brahmaputra and Bengali-dominated Barak valleys) or arguing(बहस ) that the burden(बोझ) of absorption(अवशोषण) is not only Assam’s to bear (the BJP). The politics ensuing over this has left the State polarised.

What they want is peace in Tinsukia 
The shrill(तीखी ) rhetoric(बयानबाजी/लफ्फाजी) has spilled over to civil society, with calls for a separate(अलग) Stateemanating(उत्पन्न ) from the Barak valley, and stray instances of Bengali speakers being harassed(परेशान) in Lower Assam towns, including Guwahati. Thursday’s tragedy should serve as a grim(गंभीर ) warning to the powers that be of potentially darker times ahead if the surcharged rhetoric is left unchecked. While the ULFA (Independent) denies(इनकार ) responsibility, investigations thus far suggest it was the group’s handiwork. It had earlier claimed responsibility for a low-intensity(तीव्रता/गहनता) bomb blast in Guwahati on October 13, saying it was a warning to those who support the Citizenship Bill. Meanwhile(बीच), on Thursday too, the Supreme Court Bench that is monitoring(निगरानी the NRC exercise signalled an accommodative(मिलनसार) stance(रुख) by agreeing to allow the use of five more documents by those left out of the NRC final draft. That spirit of accommodation, towards long-time residents, of whatever religion or ethnicity, needs to permeate the political leadership and civil society in Assam now.

Important Vocabulary

Synonyms: effortless, glib, hasty, accomplished, adept
Antonyms: arduous, complicated, confusing,, difficult, hard

2.Crucial( महत्वपूर्ण)
Synonyms: central,, compelling, deciding, decisive, essential
Antonyms: inessential, insignificant, minor, optional, secondary

3.Eventually(अंततः )
Synonyms: finally, one day, someday, sooner or later, ultimately
Antonyms: never

Synonyms: blast, breakout, burst, explosion, flare-up
Antonyms: trickle

5.Schism(फूट /संप्रदाय)
Synonyms: alienation, breakup, disagreement, discord, dissension, fissure
Antonyms: agreement, closing, closure, harmony, peace

6. Fate(किस्मत/भाग्य)
Synonyms: chance, circumstance, consequence, destiny, effect
Antonyms: beginning, cause, commencement, origin, source

7.Elaborate(विस्तृत/व्यापक ) 
Synonyms: busy, complicated, decorated, detailed, embellished
Antonyms: easy, facile, natural, simple, uncultured

Synonyms: indigenous, national, traditional, tribal, native

Synonyms: marker, memorial, milestone, monument, museum
Antonyms: whole

10.Counterpart(समकक्ष )
Synonyms: Doppelganger, analogue, complement, copy, correlate
Antonyms: original

11.Observed(मनाया /स्वीकार्य) 
Synonyms: attended, checked, detected, noticed, realized
Antonyms: abandoned, desecrated, forgotten, unnoticed, unperceived

12.Hedge(बचाव /घेरना)
Synonyms: fence, shrubbery, barrier, bush, enclosure
Antonyms: fence, shrubbery, barrier, bush, enclosure

13.Arguing(बहस )
Synonyms: contend, disagree, dispute, quarrel, quibble
Antonyms: agree, concur, give in, make peace, abstain

Synonyms: anxiety, concern, difficulty, duty, hardship
Antonyms: advantage, aid, assistance, benefit, blessing

Synonyms: consumption, digestion, intake, penetration, retention
Antonyms: boredom, distraction

16.Shrill(तीखी )
Synonyms: deafening, discordant, earsplitting, noisy, piercing
Antonyms: calm, low, mild, moderate, quiet

Synonyms: hyperbole, oratory, address, balderdash, bombast
Antonyms: quiet, conciseness

Synonyms: burn, hassle, heckle, hound, intimidate
Antonyms: aid, assist, delight, encourage, help

19.Denies(इनकार )
Synonyms: ban, call on, contradict, oppose, rebuff
Antonyms: OK, accept, allow, approve, ratify

Synonyms: anxiety, concentration, depth, earnestness, emotion
Antonyms: apathy, calm, calmness, ease, enervation




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