Intro : Contrary to Kashmir-based unruly Indian’s waving Pakistan (also ISIS) flags in Srinagar, hundreds of patriotic citizens in Guwahati joined a march carrying national flag in their hands to demonstrate their fury against separatists.
The conscious citizens of Guwahati on July 19, 2015 took out a protest rally demonstrating their furies against the separatists in the streets of Guwahati and carrying tri-colour. Assam was boiling after the killing of Tinsukia-based small time trader Nandalal Shah (65) and his teenage daughter Kajal on July 14 by suspected terrorists belonging to United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) at his residence in Pengeri locality. Three others were also severely injured in terrorists’ indiscriminate firing.
Huge number of Hindi-speaking people, settled in eastern Assam, protested against the killings. Raising voices against ULFA (I) rebels, who have been targeting the unarmed people of Assam for several years, the protestors demanded strong action against the separatists and urged everyone to get united for the cause of India.
Initially ULFA(I) supreme leader Paresh Barua denied that his outfit was involved in the killings. However, Assam Police chief Khagen Sarma asserted that it was a handiwork of the outlawed ULFA(I) only. He also claimed that the police already identified three killers namely Kalia, Udoi and John, who were involved in the firing on Nandalal’s family. Assam CM Tarun Gogoi supported the State police Director General Sarma’s version and declared that the militants would be dealt with strong hands.
Facing the heat of counter-insurgency operations, ULFA(I) leader Barua threatened and later ‘banned’ two Assam based Bhojpuri organisations namely All Assam Bhojpuri Parishad and All Assam Bhojpuri Yuba Chatra Parishad.
It is however not for the first time that the terrorists targeted Hindi-speaking people in the State. Over hundred Hindi-speaking people were killed by ULFA terrorists in 2000 in various eastern Assam localities. Similar attacks were reported in 2003 and 2007. “In its (ULFA) nearly four decade long armed struggle, this outfit has often targeted Hindi-speaking people. Many poor, toiling Hindi speaking people have fallen to ULFA’s bombs and bullets. This has led to a steady exodus of Hindi-speakers from the State, a sad loss of human capital,” said an editorial of The Sentinel, a popular daily newspaper of northeast India. Fighting for a swadhin (sovereign) Asom, ULFA is now but a shadow of its former self, even though the State’s security apparatus continues to be wary of its potential to create mischief, added the editorial.
The Patriotic People’s Front Assam (PPFA) came out with a sterling statement that ULFA militants were making space (with the killing of north-Indian settlers in Assam) for illegal migrants from Bangladesh. A recent statement of PPFA claimed that the ULFA (I) rebels were eliminating the Indian citizens in eastern Assam to help the illegal Bangladeshi nationals as a return gesture to the neighboring country, where they once took refuge.
The patriotic people’s forum also organised a protest rally on July 19 against the violent activities of ULFA(I) and other terror outfits. The participants started the rally from Guwahati Press Club and marched on the streets chanting slogans like ‘Punish Paresh Barua’, ‘Militants’ Agents Hussiyar’, ‘Vande Mataram’, ‘Enemies of India is Enemy of Assam’ etc. “We want to send a strong message to ULFA (I) rebels including their self-styled commander-in-chief Barua,” said Rupam Boruah of PPFA.
Leading the protest, noted journalist DN Chakrabarty termed Barua as a terrorist and urged the authorities to make him accountable for all the crimes committed by ULFA(I) cadres under his guidance. An outspoken nationalist journalist, Shri Chakrabarty asserted that the killing of unarmed people must be stopped in Assam at any cost.
NJ Thakuria (The Writer is Guwahati based senior journalist)