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3 more shot dead in Assam

Guwahati, January 8
Three Hindi-speaking persons were shot dead by ULFA in Golaghat and Dibrugarh districts of Assam while three others were injured today, taking the toll in the attacks against non-Assamese to 69, officials said.

Heavily armed militants raided a small village in Golaghat district and shot dead two Bihari labourers working in a field and injured two others, they said.

Militants also gunned down a person and injured another when they attacked a house at Sadu Nagari in Duliajan area of Dibrugarh district at 8 p.m., officials said.

Meanwhile, the curfew imposed on Dibrugarh was withdrawn at 8.30 p.m. as there was no untoward incident. The curfew was clamped to prevent migrant workers from taking out a procession with bodies of six persons killed in the district.

Lalu visits Tinsukia

As ULFA was struggling for its existence, activists of the banned outfit attacked innocent people in a bid to disintegrate the country, Lalu told reporters here.

“By killing the poor, they wanted to send a message to the Centre,” Lalu said in Dibrugarh while talking to Hindi-speaking people of upper Asom districts of Tinsukia and Dibrugarh, who were the target of the ULFA.

“They should be condemned by all. In a civilised society there is no place for such cowardly acts. This country is one and all have the right to reside in any part of the country,” he said. — PTI



ULFA killings: Nitish seeks relief, security

Patna, January 8
Condemning the killing of people of Bihari origin in Assam, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today demanded adequate compensation for the kin of the dead and special security for the community in the northeastern state.

Seeking help from the Centre and the Assam Government in rehabilitating the families of those killed in attacks by ULFA, he said, “Home Minister Shivraj Patil should come out with an authentic statement about the reasons behind the selective killing of people from Bihar. Sixtysix non-Assamese, mostly brick-kiln workers, milkmen and labourers of Bihari origin, have been killed in Dibrugarh, Tinsukia and Shibsagar districts since Friday.”

He was reacting to a reporter’s query on a statement by Nand Kishore Yadav, part of the three-member ministerial team from Bihar that went to Assam to take stock of the situation there, that the killings were part of a “sinister design of ULFA and anti-nationals to pump Bangladeshi infiltrators into Assam to give a boost to anti-national activities”.

He said, “I do not know about it and will only speak after receiving the report, but the nation desires a statement from the Union Home Minister about the selective killing of Biharis in Assam and elsewhere. Adequate compensation to the kin of those killed and special security cover to Biharis in the areas across the country is needed.” He said the suffering of the kin of the dead could not be mitigated by sending a high-level team to Assam. The Centre and the Assam Government should take the responsibility of rehabilitating those families whose bread-winners had been killed, he said. — PTI




Alert sounded in Bihar to prevent backlash over Asom killings
Ambarish Dutta
Tribune News Service

Patna, January 8
The Nitish Kumar-led NDA government today sounded an alert across the state in the wake of the fresh killing of 17 more persons of Bihar origin in Dibrugarh and Tinsukia districts of Upper Assam by ULFA militants on Sunday.

In the series of attacks on Hindi speaking non-Assamese people in the past three days since Friday, the death toll today finally rose to 71.

As the carnage shocked the nation, concern has finally begun to set in and the issue is apparently taking on a political tinge.

The public memory was still fresh how similar killing of Bihar origin migrants in Assam in 2003 had sparked retaliatory violence in trains in the state.

In 2003, over 60 Hindi speaking people, mostly originating from Bihar, had lost their lives in attacks by ULFA.

In 2006, in separate attacks by ULFA in Upper Assam and Guwahati over a dozen Bihari people had been killed.

Going by official estimates, over 6 lakh Hindi speaking people reside in different parts of Assam.

The DIG (Railways), Mr Ajay Verma, said the railways had stepped up security in every Assam-bound train either originating from Bihar or passing through the state.

Mr Verma, following instruction from the Railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, held a high-level meeting with railway security officials at Patna junction last evening to work out a comprehensive plan to provide security to passengers on the trains.

The state police headquarters would be providing 100 policemen each in the Patna and Katihar regions to keep a close vigil on trains.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday rushed a high-level ministerial and official team comprising senior ministers, Road Construction Minister Nand Kishore Yadav, Energy Minister Brijendra Prasad Yadav and Sports and Culture Minister Janardan Singh Sigriwal, IGP (Headquarters) Anil Sinha and Additional Home Secretary Jitendra, to Assam. The Railway Minister also visited the insurgency-hit areas in Upper Assam today and met the family members of the victims.

ULFA designs

Sources in the state intelligence disclosed that following the attacks it had come to light that the banned ULFA had given an indication in December last of its intention to target non-Assamese in an editorial in its mouthpiece, “Freedom”.

Sources claimed that ULFA considered the Hindi speaking migrants there as a symbol of the dominance of “cow belt” in Indian politics who always had opposed its demand for sovereign Assam.

In its mouthpiece in mid-December it reportedly had claimed that illegal migrants in Assam were not only those from neighbouring countries but were those “who have migrated to Assam from the rest of India.” It alleged that illegal migrants from the rest of the country (read Bihar) threatened the existence of the state by occupying the political and economic fields at the cost of the indigenous people.

Intelligence analysts here said with the attacks, ULFA tried to send a message to New Delhi that it was still a force to reckon with and that decades of battle had not blunted it.

With ULFA apparently going soft on illegal migrants (mostly minority) from Bangladesh in Assam, who were threatening the demographic fabric of the state more, the intelligence here also did not rule out the possibility of ULFA working under the ISI influence. By attacking the Hindi speaking people it wanted to force Delhi to restore the peace talks under its terms related to the sovereignty issue.

It may be noted that despite initiating an informal ceasefire last year to facilitate the talks with ULFA, the Centre finally had backed out following ULFA`s rejection to give in writing its commitment for peace.

One may also recall the Supreme Court`s decision last year quashing the Illegal Migrants Determination Tribunal (IMDT) Act of 1983 which was allegedly delaying the detection and deportation of illegal migrants from Bangladesh.

The Act was a brainchild of the Congress following the Assam accord.

The ULFA`s links with various Islamic fundamentalist organisations based in Bangladesh was a known secret with the corridors of power.

The ULFA leader, Anup Chetia, is in Bangladesh Jail. The Bangladesh Government had refused to oblige Delhi by handing over Chetia to it.

Several top ULFA leaders, including its commander-in-chief Paresh Barua, were said to be operating from Bangladesh soil with the alleged active patronage of the ISI in league with various Islamic fundamentalist groups.

This was the reason which reportedly forced ULFA to go soft on illegal migrants from Bangladesh.

The last year Assembly elections in Assam also saw the first ever emergence of a minority dominated political outfit on religious lines under the banner of Assam United democratic Front (AUDF), which had captured 10 seats and tilted the balance reportedly in 20 other seats by depriving any party, including the Congress, to get a comfortable majority there. Following the outcome, the Congress was forced to form a coalition government.

Large-scale protest

Parties cutting across political lines in Bihar have strongly condemned the killing of innocent Bihari people working as labourers in Assam in the past 72 hours.

While the ABVP has burnt the effigy of the Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi in protest against the incident, Congress spokesman Prem Chandra Mishra apprehended that such attacks would only lead to sectarian divide in the country.

An ABVP delegation today also met Bihar Governor G.S. Garvi and demanded protection to the Bihari people in Assam by taking up the matter with the Union Home Ministry.



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