Two considerations seem to have gone into her decision: her need for an electoral victory due to the reverses her party had suffered in recent state elections, and her intention to negotiate with a new set of elected leaders who would possibly be more pliable than students on the issue of "aliens." Large-scale violence and destruction of lives, property, bridges, and various other resources resulted.
In addition to the predictable attacks on Bengalis in the towns, there were massacres in which first pro-election Boro tribals attacked Assamese villages at Gohpur and later, in the worst massacre witnessed in independent India, another tribe, the anti-poll Lalung, reportedly with Assamese support, killed scores of Bengali Muslims in Nellie.
Despite the existence of an international border, the migration from East Pakistan continued alongside migration from West Bengal.
There is considerable dispute over the actual magnitude, but the most comprehensive estimate shows that between 19 the proportion of Assamese declined for the first time and that of Bengali speakers increased; between 19 itself, as many as 1.2 million migrants were added to a population of 14.6 million in 1971.
The movement has wide-ranging demands including development of Assam and greater share of benefits from its rich national resources, including oil, for the Assamese.
Why the issue of deportation of "illegal aliens" has come to be the focus of the movement needs some explanation.
They held urban professions, their language was more developed and widely used in Assam, and their educational and even numerical superiority became more than evident.
With the halting spread of education in the twentieth century, the Assamese middle class slowly emerged, and with the growth of the Assamese middle class, the seeds of what has been called "little nationalism" were sown in Assam.
By most available reports now, mob violence has claimed four thousand lives, rendered about 200,000 homeless, and forced a large number to leave the state for protection elsewhere.
The immediate occasion of this bloodshed was the election held in February, though conflict and tension have been present for the last three years.