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'Army crackdown has contained ULFA'
January 23, 2007 14:59 IST
Calling the January 5 massacre by the United Liberation Front of Assam as the 'most inhuman and cowardly act', Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi Tuesday claimed that "not a single Hindi-speaking permanent resident of Assam has left the state after the violence."
Stating that "overwhelming majority of all sections of people" were satisfied with the measures taken by the state government as well as army to contain the violence within two days, Gogoi, however, admitted that a small section of migrant labourers, who come to the state every year for temporary work have left.''
Gogoi, who recently took over as the Supreme Commander of the Unified Command in Assam for effecting a better coordination among the Army, the para-military forces and state security forces and administration to deal with the ULFA menace and some other underground forces, said following quick and effective anti-insurgency operations the ULFA militants were forced to reduce their operations and change tactics.
He said initially ULFA's unprovoked attacks were concentrated in Tinsukia, Dibrugarh and Dhemaji districts, where large number of innocent civilians were killed. But following the army crackdown, they have now shifted their operations to Guwahari, Bongaigaon and Barpeta where they were targetting crowded places and planting bombs.
"But that too have now been contained and the people are confident about the steps taken to ensure their safety and security," the chief minister said.
Lambasting the senseless killing by ULFA militants despite steady waning of their support bases, Gogoi said these disgruntled elements were against any development of in the state.
"Their main agenda is to keep Assam disturbed and backward in every sense and particularly when the state is set for rapid economic growth".
Asked about holding of the 33rd National Games from February 9 to 18 in Guwahati, Gogoi assured foolproof security for everybody connected with the games.
"A special Inspector General of Police has been appointed to ensure full protection for all before, during and after the games at all venues," he said.
When his attention was drawn to some news items in a section of national media questioning the security during the National Games, Gogoi categorically dismissed the views alleging it to be the handiwork of ULFA and its allies in the Peoples Consultative Group, who were trying to confuse the people.
"But the fact is that everything is now in shape to hold the games as per schedule," the chief minister said and urged the people not to pay any heed to any rumour or any mis-information campaign.
Incidentally, the Guwahati National Games would be the largest of its kind with as many as 32 events and with the participation of largest number of sportspersons from across the country, he said.
Alleging that ULFA militants were taking shelter in Bangladesh and Myanmar, the chief minister blamed the Bangladesh government for not cooperating with the Indian government in handing them over despite clear proof. He also blamed the involvement of Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence in some of the recent violence in his state.
Asked whether militant activities would have any damaging effect on the industrial rejuvenation programme of the Assam government, the chief minister replied in the negative. ''We do not foresee any major damage to our efforts of attracting new industries in the state''.
For example, he said, despite the recent massacre the prospect of launching of the Rs 1,000 crore Gas Cracker project in Upper Assam was bright. ''It is scheduled to be launched sometime in April this year,'' he said.
About the future of other projects, Gogoi said as the state government was in favour of inviting only small and medium sector industries and the response so far was very encouraging.
He, however, made his view clear on setting up of industries on farm land and said he was against the forceful acquisition of agricultural land for industrial or for any other purposes.
Regarding the construction of roads, airports and other infrastructural projects, he said talks were on with a number of corporates and public sector units and ''none of them seem to be afraid of the insurgency''.