Congress president Sonia Gandhi arrived on her first visit today in
Assam's troubled Kokrajhar and Dhubri districts, almost three weeks
after it was affected by ethnic violence that left 77 people dead, and
several lakhs displaced.
The Congress president, who is accompanied by Home Minister Sushil Kumar
Shinde and the Assam Chief Minister, visited relief camps - housing
members of Bodos and Muslims, the two communities affected by the
violence. Mrs Gandhi told NDTV, "The situation in Assam is not so bad. People want to go home, but it will take some time."
Her visit comes at a time when the Congress government led by Tarun Gogoi is facing criticism for not being able to contain the spread of violence.
Over 200,000 displaced people in lower Assam are crowding ill-equipped relief camps after they fled their villages as intense clashes broke out between Bodos and Bengali speaking settlers last month. About two-thirds of that massive number are Muslims.
The politics over ethnic clashes in Assam spilled over to Mumbai where two people were killed and 55 others were injured after a peaceful protest turned violent near Azad Maidan on Saturday. 24 people have been arrested.
Meanwhile, those living in the relief camps in these violence-hit areas are seething with anger and want something should be done soon.
"Our village has been completely burnt down, and we are scared to go back home. We don't think it'll be possible for us to return home by August 15, as promised by the Chief Minister because situation is not right," said a person living at the relief camp in Titagurhi.
As the Congress president visits the state today, she will have to perform a tough balancing act as questions are being raised about Chief Minister Gogoi's handling of the situation. And also face a flurry of questions from those spending sleepless nights in the relief camps who want security and a normal life.