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Cablegate: Ulfa Again Targets Hindi Speaking Migrants While Resentment

VZCZCXRO0232
RR RUEHAST RUEHBI RUEHDBU RUEHLH RUEHPW
DE RUEHCI #0242 2262107
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 142107Z AUG 07
FM AMCONSUL KOLKATA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 1637
INFO RUCNCLS/ALL SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEILB/NCTC WASHINGTON DC
RUEHGO/AMEMBASSY RANGOON 0304
RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU 0095
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 0123
RUEHCI/AMCONSUL KOLKATA 2011

UNCLAS KOLKATA 000242

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PTER PHUM PINR IN BG
SUBJECT: ULFA AGAIN TARGETS HINDI SPEAKING MIGRANTS WHILE RESENTMENT
AGAINST BANGLADESHIS GROWS

REF: CALCUTTA 00010

1. (SBU) Summary: In the run-up to India's Independence Day on
August 15, insurgents from the United Liberation Front of Asom
(ULFA) and Karbi Longri National Liberation Front (KLNLF) have
killed at least 27 Hindi-speaking migrants in the Northeast
Indian state of Assam. Simultaneously with this violence
against "mainland" Indians, Northeast Indian youth organizations
from states sharing borders with Assam have been evicting
Bengali speaking settlers - allegedly Bangladeshis. While ULFA
tries to pretend that they are protecting Assamese sovereignty,
there is a real concern among some ethnic groups in the
Northeast that Bangladeshis are encroaching into their states.
End summary.

2. (SBU) Since August 4, attacks in Assam on Hindi-speaking
people who are mostly from Bihar have left at least 27 dead in
the tribal Karbi Anglong district. ULFA and the KLNLF are
reportedly behind the attacks. Over 30,000 Hindi-speaking
migrants live in the Karbi Anglong area. On August 8, a group
of about 20 KLNLF and ULFA raided the Ampathar village
(inhabited by Bihari farmers) and opened fire, killing 8 people
including 3 women and 2 children. On August 11, a group of
about 15 KLNLF attacked four Hindi-speaking families of Rang
Teron village, killing 14 and injuring three others. On August
12, KLNLF militants shot four more Hindi-speaking persons from
two families in the Bokajan area. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish
Kumar has asked the GOI to intervene and ensure the safety of
Biharis in Assam.

3. (SBU) A senior police official from Assam told Post that
with security forces stepping up security in ULFA's routine
areas of operation prior to Independence Day, ULFA's 27th and
28th battalions selected the "soft target" of Karbi Anglong's
remote areas to conduct their attacks on the Biharis. ULFA has
long demanded a "sovereign Assam," and conducted violent
campaigns against Hindi-speakers from mainland India in the
past. In early 2007, ULFA killed more than 60 migrants in
separate attacks in Dibrugarh, Tinsukia and Sivsagar districts
of Assam (reftel). Now, during the run-up to India's
Independence Day celebrations on August 15, ULFA is repeating
its campaign of ethnic violence. The GOI generally has
encouraged ULFA to come forward for peace talks over the years,
but ULFA has remained adamant in its demand for negotiations on
the sovereignty issue, which has effectively stymied the peace
process.

4. (SBU) Simultaneously, since July 10, Assam has witnessed an
influx of 4,000-5,000 Bengali speaking people from the
neighboring states of Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Mizoram.
These migrants were driven out by aggressive youth organizations
who branded them as "foreigners" from Bangladesh. The Northeast
Students Organization, the All Assam Students' Union, and other
youth groups also accused the Congress-led Assam government of
bowing to the "Bangladeshi lobby" by allowing illegal migrants
to settle in Assam and in the border areas of neighboring
states. Assam officials, however, told Post that those pushed
back into Assam recently are actually Indian citizens who have
been erroneously branded foreigners.

5. (SBU) Comment: Many officials in Assam feel that the
violence against Hindi-speaking Indian migrants in Assam is
simply typical ULFA violence that occurs around symbolic Indian
holidays. Tellingly, ULFA does not target other "foreigners"
such as the Bangladeshis who live in Assam and the Northeast,
giving credence to the oft-repeated GOI suspicion that ULFA
leadership resides in Bangladesh at the pleasure of the
Bangladeshi government. The pushback against Bangladeshi
migrants in other parts of the Northeast, however, demonstrates
the continuing resentment toward Bangladeshis, who are perceived
to be encroaching on land and jobs in the Northeast.

JARDINE

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