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ULFA killings trigger public outburst, street protests

Hundreds of angry protesters take to the streets in Assam shouting slogans after a wave of violence left 48 dead. Is ULFA fomenting ethnic strife? Tell us here...

india Updated: Jan 07, 2007 12:32 IST

Hundreds of angry protesters took to the streets in Assam shouting slogans against the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) after a wave of violence left 48 Hindi-speaking people dead.

"Never before has Assam witnessed such an upsurge against the ULFA as this time round with people openly revolting against the militants," a senior police official said.

More than a thousand people late Saturday blocked a highway in Tinsukia district by placing dead bodies of Hindi-speaking people on the street and demanded stern action against the ULFA for the savage attacks.

"ULFA murdabad (down with ULFA) and Paresh Baruah (ULFA's commander-in-chief) murdabad," rent the air with people voicing their anger openly.

Assam was transformed into a veritable killing field with the ULFA carrying out at least a dozen strikes killing at least 48 Hindi-speakers in eastern Assam's Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, and Dhemaji districts for two straight days beginning on Friday.

"We want the army to finish off the ULFA. The Tinsukia district should be handed over to the army so that they get a free hand to deal with killers," shouted a young Hindi-speaking man as hundreds of others reciprocated his feelings in a chorus. The ULFA has not claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The protests took place barely a few miles from the ancestral home of ULFA leader Paresh Baruah. "Is this a way to achieve your (ULFA) revolutionary demands by butchering innocent unarmed civilians," asked Ramesh Jha, a Hindi-speaking trader. Political parties cutting across party lines condemned the raids.

"Such incidents are nothing but barbaric," Pawan Singh Ghatowar, a Congress MP from Assam, said. Similar views were echoed by politicians of opposition parties.

"We condemn the dastardly killings. The state government must resign owning moral responsibility for failing to provide security to the common people," Brindaban Goswami, president of the main opposition Asom Gana Parishad, said.

First Published: Jan 07, 2007 12:32 IST