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Assam celebrates R-Day despite ULFA ban
K Anurag in Guwahati | January 26, 2008 12:42 IST
Notwithstanding the ban imposed by the four north-east militant groups including the proscribed United Liberation Front of Asom, the Republic Day celebrations went off peacefully in a solemn way in all the districts of Assam amid tight security on Saturday.
Addressing the main celebrations at the Judges' Field in Guwahati, Governor of Assam Lt Gen (Retd) Ajai Kumar Singh stated that despite violence perpetrated by insurgents, the internal security scenario in Assam had been improving, thanks to coordinated anti-insurgency operations under the Unified Command structure by the army, police and paramilitary forces.
The governor made an appeal to the insurgent groups to come forward for talks with the government within the framework of Indian Constitution.
"Our doors are always kept open for a dialogue, so that the problem of insurgency is resolved, and peace is restored in the state," he said.
He said Assam government had laid special emphasis on strengthening the police force by way of modernisation, setting up of new police stations and creation of new posts in the force to face the challenged posed to it by insurgents.
An India Reserve Battalion will be raised in the state within March this year.
The governor rued that a large number of women and children had become innocent victims of insurgency related violence in the state.
Meanwhile, venues of official celebrations of the Republic Day in Assam had been shifted from usual venues in several districts of Assam on security reasons in view of the looming threat from the ULFA that had given a call for boycott of the Republic Day celebrations in the state and general strike on the same day.
A group of journalists, writers and noted citizens gathered in the premises of the Guwahati Press Club to celebrate Republic Day in a show of defiance to the call for boycott given by the ULFA and four other militants groups operating in the region.
Unfurling the national tricolour at the Press Club, senior journalist D N Chakraborty said the people of the nation must celebrate Republic Day to show respect to martyrs who sacrificed their precious lives to free their motherland from the clutches of colonial rulers.
He pooh poohed the banned ULFA's 'violent revolution' demanding restoration of sovereignty of Assamese people and said that it was an absurd idea in the present context of global economy to demand sovereignty for Assam when no country in the world is economically cent per cent independent.
He said Assam is hardly resourceful enough to survive as a sovereign nation. He said such demands reflected the poverty of wisdom on part of the ULFA leadership.