Terrorism is the greatest threat to democracy and humanity. And the terrorists can not have any caste and religion. To deal with both the home-grown and international terrorism, a combined effort of political will and public support becomes the need of the hour. The speakers in a Citizen'sMeet at Guwahati Press Club on November 5 came out with these discourse and conclusions. Organised by the Journalists? Forum, Assam in Northeast India the meeting also insisted that the authority must take responsibility to deal with terrorism and finally ensure the security of the people.
Addressing the meet, which was presided over by JFA president Rupam Baruah, a noted Assamese author, Nirupama Borgohain commented that the government must be responsible for its non-performance and failure. The government has the legitimate power and responsibility to serve the country and provide security to its citizen, said the Sahitya Academy award winner litt?rateur. Talking about the United States of America, which has effectively dealt with terrorism after the September 11, 2001 attacks, Shri Borgohain raised the vital question, why India can'tdo that.
DN Chakrabarty, former editor of Dainik Asom, a Guwahati based Assamese daily, expressed anger on the utter failure of the
authority'sdisaster management in the moment of terrorist'sattack in Assam on October 30 that killed over 80 and wounding nearly 400 people. The government of Assam has finally admitted that elements from foreign country (read Bangladesh) were involved in the heinous crime. Terming the terrorists as enemy of India, Shri Chakrabarty criticised the State government, led by Tarun Gogoi for his callous attitude towards the crisis.
He appreciated the people of Assam for exercising their patience during the crisis. Shri Chakrabarty also applauded the role of media, both the print and visual, for their restrained role while covering the violence. At the same time he appealed to the mediapersons for a comprehensive study and documentation of all the terror attacks in the country.
Talking about the threat of terrorism, Prof Abdul Mannan reiterated that terrorism never supports democracy and humanity. He also agreed that the terrorism had largely emerged as a threat to India. Prof Mannan at the same time argued that terrorism must be dealt with strong hands. He emphasised on the need of political will, where the party leaders would get united without mudslinging for the cause.
Bhadrakrishna Goswami, a prominent socio-cultural leader declared that terrorism simply destroys humanity. Remembering the terror of Assam serial blasts, Shri Goswami appealed to all democratic forces to get united to fight the menace. The leader of anti-terror group, APW, Abhijit Sharma commented that jehadi elements had joined hands with the United Liberation Front of Asom under the guidance of ISI for continuing disruptive activities in India. He asserted that ULFA was involved in the Assam blasts as a supportive force, if not as the mastermind. Amidst the crisis of Islamist terrorism, Munin Bayan, a senor journalist, analyzed how the ambience has created lot of confusion among the people in general and mediapersons in particular. He described his belief that Islam never allow such acts of terrorism. Anjali Daimary, a social activist emphasised on creating strong public opinion against the failure of the administration.
The meeting in one of its resolutions, had called upon the Government to speak in one voice about who are the culprits behind the October 30 blasts and the Darrang-Udalguri clashes instead of sowing suspicions and mutual distrust among various sections in the society. It also asked the authorities to identify the culprits after a speedy probe, make the results public and mete out exemplary punishment to them.
?The helplessness of the Government and the confusing role played by the opposition parties have not only eroded the confidence of the people, but also diminished their faith in the political system, the citizens urged the political parties to rise above petty politics of power and join hands together on issues of terrorism and threat to the nation'ssecurity,? a resolution said Another resolution analysed, ?Since illegal foreigners issue is at the root of many problems in Assam, the Central and state Governments must take steps to seal the international border, prepare a National Register of Citizens and detect and deport foreigners. The citizens also urge the Government to raise the issue of terrorism and illegal migration in various international forums to create pressure on the neighbouring countries responsible for exporting troubles to the State.?
It may be mentioned that Assam turned into a place of protest and demonstrations on the aftermath of the serial blasts. The civil society and advocacy groups have already taken various agitational programmes to condemn the incident. If one group organised public meetings, the other went on with candle light processions in Guwahati and other places of Assam. If a section preferred for the street corner prayers, other went for rigorous and comprehensive discussion on the terror issue. Besides political parties, student'sorganisations, women bodies, lawyers associations with advocacy groups raised their voices against terrorism. Muslim organisations came out to the streets and even a mosque in Guwahati organised a convention against terrorism, where speakers irrespective of their ideology and backgrounds condemned the terror attacks in Assam in particular and India in general. Everyone advocated an united and extraordinary fight against terrorism.
But the greatest show against terrorism was organised by the All Assam Students? Union on November 11. Thousands of students, teachers, government employees, cultural activists, religious leaders, NGO workers with common men participated in a protest march condemning the terror attacks and also demanding security of the citizens. The protest rally started from Latasil playground in Guwahati and marched through the streets of the city. It was, in fact, the biggest show of strength for a noble cause materialised after the historic Assam movement led by the AASU in Eighties. Northeast is no stranger to terror attacks, but the latest serial blasts in Assam had shaken the psyche of the people. For the first time, they feel helpless and total insecured. Dance of death gripped the ambience and the citizens went on self imposing curfew for many hours. After the historic Assam agitation, one witnessed such a deserted Guwahati city for the first time. Closed shops, no vehicles with crowd on the roads and the unbelievable silence grabbed the ambience of the city.
Shockingly, the explosions took place in the high security and crowded areas of Guwahati including the front of DC court, (where in fact two deputy commissioners of Kamrup district and Kamrup-Metro sit; and also adjacent to Chief Judicial Magistrate court, Guwahati).
Similarly the location of Pan Bazar, where another bomb exploded is very near to Pan Bazar police station. This is also crowded market place.
The third one blasted in the busy Ganeshguri area. This place is near to the high security Secretariat and Legislative Assembly building and also a market place. Three other blasts took place in Kokrajhar, two in Barpeta and one in Bongaigaon district in lower Assam.
Significantly all the explosions took place within few minutes after 11.15 a.m. Others who were present and spoke on the meet include GS Kalita, Benu Barua, Hiten Mahanta, Alaka Buragohain, S. Tahbilder, Jahnavi Goswami, Ranen Kumar Goswami, Sabita Lahkar, Sumitra Hazarika, Pramod Bhattacharya, Mitradev Sharma, Kishore Giri, Ranjan Baurah, Dhanjit Kakoti, Jawarlal Saha, Manoranjana Gupta, SN Rahman, Biman Hazarika, Dipen Bayan, etc. Before the meeting, one minute silence was observed by the participants for those killed in the terror attacks.