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Parties condemn Assam violence

Political parties say such acts are aimed at dividing the nation along sectarian lines, reports Saroj Nagi. Your take...

india Updated: Jan 07, 2007 21:59 IST
Saroj Nagi

Political parties, across the board, condemned the "senseless" killing of 48 people by ULFA in Assam, warning that such acts were aimed at dividing the nation along sectarian lines and blocking the state’s development.

Congress President and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi said that such violence, instead of leading to any solution, would only retard the economic progress of the state. "Violence has no place in a democratic country like ours. Solution to all problems can be found through dialogue," Sonia said in a statement, while condemning the "senseless killing of innocent, harmless, unarmed poor people." She appealed to the people to maintain calm.

A UPA ally, RJD’s Lalu Yadav spoke to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and expressed his grief over the killing of Bihari labourers by ULFA. He also contacted Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi who, he said, assured him that full security would be given to every section of society in Assam.

The Railway minister, who will on Monday go to Tinsukhia and Dibrugarh, the scene of the brutal killings, took note of the  contribution of people from Bihar in Assam's development. "The reprehensible killings are meant to frighten the people and divide the country on sectarian lines," he alleged. He urged extreme caution to ensure there was no backlash in Bihar. "I am absolutely confident that violence would not spiral out of control and there would be no backlash in Bihar,"  he said.

Another Bihar leader and UPA partner, Lok Janshakti’s Ram Vilas Paswan also wrote to the PM seeking protection of life and property of the people belonging to Bihar and other non-Assamese people as well as adequate security measures to prevent recurrence of such incidents. The Union Minister for Fertilisers also demanded that the Assam government take "immediate effective steps" to stop the innocent killings. He also sought adequate compensation for the families of the victims and proper treatment for the injured.

On his part, JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav, who also hails from Bihar, met Home Minister Shivraj Patil to protest at the killings and voice concern at the rising violence in Punjab, Mumbai, Kashmir and Assam. "These incidents are dangerous for the country," he told Patil. He urged the Centre to take "corrective" steps and frame a policy to ensure such incidents do not recur. The former union minister, whose party is part of the NDA, also raised questions about the failure of intelligence agencies to keep track of militant activities in the region.

In a sharp reaction, BJP president Rajnath Singh - who will visit Assam on January 9 - blamed the Centre’s "inept handling" of internal security for the "cowardly killing" of non-Assamese by ULFA.

"This unfortunate event is a direct result of the Congress party's and the government's soft stand on terror and separatists. It is evident now that the Congress government at the Centre has lost all the advantages gained during the NDA regime over ULFA terror," he said in a statement. He alleged that the Congress was not able to deal with the banned outfit firmly because it had taken its help in the Assam polls.

Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh, too, levelled a similar accusation. The Rajya Sabha MP, who plans to visit Tinsukia on January 9 to hand over Rs one lakh to the families of those killed on behalf of his party, alleged that the Congress’ proxity to ULFA added "fuel to fire."

Without referring to the UP elections or to the NoidaNoida serial murders that has brought the SP in the line of fire of other  parties, Singh urged the top Congress leadership "not to be regime-sensitive but people-sensitive" and to look after the lives of the people in states which are not poll-bound. The SP leader, who plans to write to the PM and Sonia, came out strongly against the "politicisation" of incidents of crime that occur in the country. But to bring a change in the mindset a collective effort was required, he said.

The UPA’s supporting partner, the CPM, blamed the Gogoi’s government’s inability to handle the situation while expressing  "shock and outrage" at the mass killings in Tinsukia, Dibrugarh and Dhemagi districts. "The ULFA has once again shown its reactionary character by targeting poor workers…Such dastardly acts will further isolate the ULFA from the people of Assam.

The state government has once again proved its incapacity to deal firmly with such terrorist activities," a Politburo statement said. It urged the Centre to take immediate steps to assist the state administration to firmly tackle the violent activities and demanded that the Gogoi government call an all party meeting to evolve a common stand to deal with the problem.

Email Saroj Nagi: snagi@hindustantimes.com

Leaders who plan to visit Assam

Lalu Yadav - January 8
Rajnath Singh - January 9
Amar Singh - January 13