Assam: FIR against writers for defaming Bodo Community

Kokrajhar(Assam)Aug 10: The United Tribal Organization, Assam (UTOA) has filed an FIR here against noted writers Sanjoy Hazarika and Romila Thapar for defaming Bodo community in their books “Strangers No More” and “Ancient Indian Social History- Some Interpretations” .

The FIR was lodged on August 4 at Kokrajhar Sadar Police Station (PS) and registered with vide no. 390/2018,u/s 3(1)(P) (R) (U),Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities),Act 1989( Amendment 2015).

Speaking to South Asia Views ,President of the UTOA Markush Basumatary said that both the writers have repeatedly hurt the Bodo community by the using phrases like ‘the Bodo use of explosive’, ‘Blood spattered Bodo council’ and ‘Bodo militants’ in the book , ‘Strangers No More: New Narratives from India’s Northeast’ written by Sanjoy Hazarika in the chapter “Fear in a handful of Dust”.

Renowned historian Romila Thapar also has made an inaccurate statement in her book “Ancient Indian Social History: Some Interpretations” in page 378.

In the mentioned page, she has written “Few in India pause to count the number of militant groups, that are terrorizing areas of the sub-continent and are not concerned with matters of Islam. The Bodo, the ULFA, a variety of groups in the north-east some of whom go back fifty years,”. The inaccuracy in this sentence is that she has categorized Bodo community as a militant group.

He has accused both the writers of having a generalized conception and using terms instead of mentioning or addressing a particular militant group amounts to political incorrectness and ignorance which in a way generates hatred, ill feelings and enmity towards the whole Bodo community. Such misrepresentation of a whole community is unacceptable as it has the potential of branding a community as criminal or militant in nature.

‘We do not want readers to have misconception about the Bodo community as militants due to use of generalized insensitive words. Writer Sanjoy Hazarika is a local person and quite familiar with the tribes and communities in Assam, he should have never used such words as “Bodo use of explosive” or “Bodo militants” or “Blood spattered Bodo council” ,Markush said.

He has also demanded a ban on the books in the market and strict action against the writers .

‘I find such tags against the Bodo community is intentional, insulting, hurting and malicious. I therefore urge you to take necessary action against Sanjoy Hazarika and Romila Thapar for spreading ill-will against the Bodo community under section 3 (1) (P), (R) and (U) of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 or any other relevant penal provision’, he added.

‘In the past few weeks, we have given enough time to Sanjoy Hazarika and Romila Thapar to clarify about their stand on the use of such words in the book. Till now both of them have not taken any personal initiative for a ‘face to face’ discussion nor did they clarify by using any mode of communication’,Markush Basumatary said.


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