ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Understanding the Critical Issues Shaping the Politics of Assam and North East

Homeland Insecurities: Autonomy, Conflict and Migration in Assam by Sanjoy Barbora, Oxford University Press, pp 251, `1,495.

Homeland Insecurities: Autonomy, Conflict and Migration in Assam by Sanjoy Barbora takes a look at the crucial issues that continue to shape the politics of the state as well as the region of the North East. While writing the book, the author draws both from his ethnographic experience and fieldwork as well as accommodates his concerns as a human rights activist. This ­becomes clear when he visits conflict-ridden areas and sits with communities who are stakeholders. The six chapters of the book show the author moving back and forth between theories of social anthropology, available literature on these issues as well as data from field visits. The book largely touches upon issues of autonomy in the region which has seen multiple and varied trajectories and are at different stages of reconciliation. It engages with the crucial issue of migration which has been the deciding factor of the politics in the state. Barbora further goes to deal with questions of climate change and environmental degradation and how this has accentuated livelihood crisis in the state.

The book begins by revisiting the ­period of independence and elaborating the differences that the eastern and western “frontiers” faced. While on the west, laws were set aside to accommodate people fleeing violence, the east did not witness any such concern from the government. On the other hand, civil society organisations tried to raise concerns regarding immigration and the government retaliated by taking recourse to laws like the Foreigners Act, 1946 and Foreigners’ Tribunals, 1939 (p 8). This differentiated response meant that while the movement of people across the Western border was more or less complete, it was not so on the east. Rather the first National Register of Citizens (NRC) became the government response to alleged cross-border infiltration—a practice which could not be carried out in all the districts owing to law and ­order degradation.

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Updated On : 31st Mar, 2023
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