^Foreigners' in Assam and Assamese Middle Class
IT is about a year now since the movement in Assam against the presence of "foreign nationals" and the inclusion of their names in the voters' list was launched. Deletion of their names from the voters' list and their immediate deportation to their original homeland are the main planks of the organizers of this movement. Hundreds have been killed and many more rendered homeless in the movement. Carnage, pillage and devastation engulfed North Kamrup for days together in the month of January 1980. Election to the seventh Lok Sabha from the Assam Valley could not be held. Of the 14 Lok Sabha seats in Assam, elections could be held only in two constituencies—Karimganj and Silchar. For one seat, Barpeta, four candidates filed nominations. The nomination paper ofAbida Ahmed (wife of the former President of India, Fakhr-uddin Ali Ahmcd, and a candidate of the Congress led by Indira Gandhi) was cancelled by the returning officer. With the cancellation of her nomination paper, other three candidates withdrew from the fray as their main intention was "not to allow Mrs. Ahmed go uncontcsted". In the other 11 constituencies, nominees of various political parties could not file nomination papers as they were confined to their residences or party offices for days together by the agitators.
The President's rule was proclaimed in Assam on 12 December 1979, and the Assembly was put "under animated suspension". In the wake of large-scale violence, North Kamrup was declared a "disturbed area" and the Army put on the alert. But for their intervention, the crudest of genocide, the like of which Assam has witnessed only once before in the hands of the Burmese in 1816-1826, would have been perpetrated.
The movement was started under the joint leadership of the All Assam Students Union (AASU), All Assam Gana Sangram Parishad (AAGSP), Purbanchalia Lok Parished (PLP) and the