GUWAHATI - Blaming political parties for inciting ethnic violence and communalism, young Indian Muslims from across Assam have come together to brainstorm a solution to ethnic violence in the north-eastern state.
"For finding a peaceful solution of the present scenario of hatred and violence prevailing in Assam, we have formed a platform named MY-FACTS (Muslim Youths: Forum Against Communalism, Terrorism and Sedition)," advisor Ashiq Zaman said in a release cited by Zee News.
Nearly 60 Muslim youths discussed ways of ending ethnic violence that plagued the state in the past weeks.
"The participants discussed that due to lack of dialogue and social assimilation between Muslims and other communities, an atmosphere of misconception, mutual suspicion and hatred is brewing slowly and taking dangerous shape, MY-FACTS said in a statement cited by the Times of India.
This is detrimental to the secular fabric of the larger society.
Sectarian violence rocked the city last month after four youths were killed by unidentified men in the isolated Kokrajhar district.
In retaliation, armed men from Bodo tribes attacked Muslims for suspicion of being behind the killings.
The violence spread to the neighboring Chirang and Dhubri districts, leaving at least 22 people dead.
Thousands of people were also left homeless as their villages were set on fire in the violence.
The Muslim youth have suggested the establishment of an educational and cultural study center to promote dialogue in the state.
To achieve a harmonious and peaceful society, the Muslim youths present at the meeting formed an ad-hoc committee to start a dialogue with all communities and stakeholders, MY-FACTS said in the statement.
The forum will further focus on carrying forward a secular movement for peace and development among educated Muslim youths in every district of Assam.
The statement said a draft road map would be formed to give shape to an educational and cultural study center too.
"The forum will promote social assimilation of Muslims with the larger society in the state.
Surrounded by China, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Bhutan, Assam is home to more than 200 ethnic and tribal groups and has been racked by separatist revolts since India's independence from Britain in 1947.
In recent years, Hindu and Christian tribes have vented strong sentiments against Muslims, calling them Bangladeshi immigrants.
Muslims account for 160 million of India's 1.1 billion people, the world's third-largest Muslim population after those of Indonesia and Pakistan.According to the 2011 census, 31.3 percent of Assam's total population is Muslim and there are over 300 mosques in Assam's main city Guwahati.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net