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Laloo absolves Assam, blames Centre

G Vinayak in Guwahati | November 24, 2003 20:09 IST

Rashtriya Janata Dal president Laloo Prasad on Monday blamed the Centre for Assam's inability to protect beleaguered Biharis in the state. Yadav is on a two-day goodwill visit to Assam at the head of a nine-member delegation.

"This is not a fight between Assam and Bihar. People in Delhi, and elements like the Shiv Sena, have created this rift. We, in the eastern region, have been always neglected and this is one more instance of that attitude," he told reporters after meeting Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and an All Assam Students Union delegation.

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He supported the AASU's demand that category C and D jobs in the railways and other central organisations must be reserved for locals.

He absolved the Assam government of any lapses in the killing of over 50 Biharis in the state since November 17. "Law and order is a state subject but the chief minister has been hampered by lack of security forces. The Centre has not given him sufficient forces. What can he do?" Laloo asked.

He gave an assurance that there would be no violence against people from the Northeast travelling in trains passing through Bihar.

"I admit that there was some laxity in Jamalpur and Katihar on November 12 when passengers from the Northeast were harassed, looted and one Naga girl was even raped. We have taken action against the negligent officers and have arrested over 50 people. From now on, there will be no problem."

He went on to berate the Bharatiya Janata Party. "Their MP from Munger, Nikhil Choudhury, staged a dharna a day after some candidates from Bihar were harassed in Assam on November 9. This encouraged BJP supporters and Shiv Saikniks to indulge in looting and vandalism," Laloo said.

He criticised Union Minister (in charge of the Northeast) C P Thakur for shifting the blame for the violent incidents in Assam on Bangladesh. "What was the Intelligence Bureau doing if foreign forces were active in Assam?" he wanted to know.

Yadav said he would visit the worst-affected Tinsukia district after December 2.

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