As an undercurrent of tension continues to grip the violence-hit Assam, Chief minister Tarun Gogoi on Friday called a meeting of all the political parties in the state to work out a joint and all-participating strategy to deal with the situation effectively in the interest of restoring peace and communal harmony in the state.
The meeting chaired by the chief minister resolved to send all-party delegations to different corners of violence-affected areas in the state in an effort to remove mistrust among different communities to prevent recurrence of violence.
The meeting further resolve to hold an inquiry into rumour mongering that contributed to rapid spread and escalation of violence in Bodoland Territorial Council and adjoining areas last month.
Gogoi appealed to all the political parties to exercise restraint at this juncture and not to make provocative statements that may aggravate the situation. "It's not the time to indulge in mud-slinging and to gain political mileage. We have to exercise restrain for at least two to three months till the dust settles down," he said.
Gogoi said the government wants to get to the bottom of the truth that led to the violence in BTAD and other places. "We have ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry and that took place at such a short span of time. We are also for a judicial inquiry into the incidents," he added.
"We have to remove the fear psychosis from their minds and to ensure a sense of security for them to return to their homes. Towards this end, our government has taken up measures to set up fixed police pickets to ensure security and also taking up confidence building measures at the same time," Gogoi informed the meeting.
Gogoi said the involvement of political parties, local leaders, civil society, non-governmental organisation, home guards, village defence and police personnel is of utmost necessity to restore peace and harmony in the affected areas and to prevent such incidents from recurring.
"We have to work in unison towards restoration of peace and to sort out the differences among the communities amicably through the process of dialogue," he added.
Gogoi attributed the exodus of people from some States of the country due to the handiwork of rumour-mongers, who caused panic among the students and people of the region either studying or working there, through MMS and SMS, though there was no untoward incident.
The chief minister apprised the meeting about his telephonic talk with the Union home minister, chief ministers of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, urging them to take up measures to instil confidence among the people of the region to prevent further exodus.
"I must appreciate the steps taken by my counterparts. We have to create a congenial atmosphere and instil confidence so that they go back soon," he said.
The two and a half hour long meeting was attended by representatives of the various political parties which include the Indian National Congress, All India United Democratic Front, the Bharatiya Janata Party, the Asom Gana Parishad, Trinamool Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party, Bodoland People's Front , the Communist Party of India, CPI-Marxist and Socialist Unity Centre of India.
The meeting also unanimously resolved to collectively take effective steps for speedy return of normalcy and social harmony in the affected areas and emphasised upon early rehabilitation of the displaced families.
It further appealed to people living outside the region not to panic on account of rumours. It appealed to all those who have already come back to return to their usual place of work or study given that all the concerned states including Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra have assured full protection to persons from the Northeastern region living in their respective states.
The meeting made an appeal to all sections of society comprising political parties, local leaders, civil society, NGOs, community-based organisations, all student and youth organisations and media to maintain peace and communal harmony and take proactive measures for confidence building to restore complete normalcy.