NEW DELHI, INDIA + LONDON, U.K.
Protests and demonstrations over the government's handling of the Assam election continued on February 18 amid reports that almost 2000 had died in rioting.
NEW DELHI, INDIA + LONDON, U.K.
1. GV: Parliament building New Delhi 0.03
2. GV PAN: Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and other MPs (including President Zail Singh in brown jacket and white turban) proceed towards Central Hall of Parliament. 0.17
3. GV: Procession entering Central Hall of Parliament 0.20
4. GV; Police cordon around Assamese demonstrators (off camera) 0.22
5. SV: Seated demonstrators with black bands over mouths holding placards (3 shots) 0.36
6. SV INTERIOR (LONDON) Mr. Tassaduq Ahmed, leader of Bangladeshi community in London speaking. 1.47
7. GV's: (NEW DELHI) Assamese students shouting slogans (2 shots) 1.58
8. GV: Students boarding buses after volunteering for arrest (3 shots) 2.12
9. GV: Bus with arrested students leaves 2.20
TRANSCRIPT BEGINS: (SEQUENCE 6)
TASSADUQ AHMED: Assam as you know is a very underpopulated area, and there is a lot of land lying about uncultivated. So the people from Sylhet from Cachar from the eastern parts from the area of (indistinct) in Bangladesh leve there in order to participate in the agricultural development of the country. As a result there is a great Bengali, professionals as well in the Assam cities, in the cities especially. As that I can well understand the resentments of the Assamese people against the Bengali settlers. This is one part of it and this can be very compared to the situation of the Indian settlers in East Africa. The resentment is very very similar to the resentment that took place in East or Eastern Africa. That is one part. the second part is that political forces are trying to take advantage of this discrepancy of this disparity between these exciting groups and therefore creating this riot situation (indistinct).
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: NEW DELHI, INDIA + LONDON, U.K.
Protests and demonstrations over the government's handling of the Assam election continued on February 18 amid reports that almost 2000 had died in rioting. The opening of a new parliamentary session in New Delhi, attended by the Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, and the President, Zail Singh, was boycotted by ten of the major non-communist opposition parties.
Nearby Assamese students and their supporters staged a sit-in. The protestors, partly masked and carrying placards, then marched silently to the Boat Club where many were arrested. Student groups have led the campaign against the millions of illegal immigrants in Assam, particularly their right to vote.
Mainly Hindu tribesmen have massacred whole villages of Moslem settlers in India's worst communal violence since 1947.
In London, a Bengali leader, Tassaduq Ahmed, said he could understand the resentment of the Assamese people against the Bengalis from Bangladesh. he compared it to the feeling against Indians in East Africa, and claimed that political groups were taking advantage of the differences between the communities involved.
The violence in the Assam area erupted three weeks ago. Mrs. Indira Gandhi, the Indian Prime Minister visited the area and spoke to survivors on February 21 as Parliament broke from its schedule to discuss the crisis.
Source: REUTERS - PREM PRAKASH AND LEO WALLER