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Assam contrinues to bleed

Assam contrinues to bleed

Author: Editorial
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: January 3, 2009.
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/147526/Assam-continues-to-bleed.html

Gogoi sleeps as terrorists run amok

The ghastly serial bombings in Guwahati on Thursday, which have claimed at least five lives and left 50 civilians injured, have served to highlight the precarious situation that prevails in Assam where extremists, separatists and terrorists of various hues, ranging from the United Liberation Front of Asom to the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami Bangladesh, continue to strike at will without any let or hindrance. That the bombings should have occurred on the day Union Home Minister P Chidambaram was visiting the State to take stock of the security situation there and a day before the Prime Minister's scheduled visit reflects both the audacity of the terrorists as well as the fact that the security apparatus in Assam lies in a shambles, thanks to the incompetence and worse of the Congress Government headed by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. It is under Mr Gogoi's watch that Assam has descended into unabated separatist violence and jihadi terror -- it would be charitable to suggest that he and his colleagues in Government have proved to be unequal to the challenge posed by mass murderers; they have wilfully allowed the situation to drift from one crisis to another, unmindful of the deadly consequences. Indeed, Mr Gogoi's critics would suggest that his inaction is really indulgence of malcontents on whom he depends for votes during elections. Hence, there is no effort to either neutralise those who kill innocent people in cold blood or stem the tide of illegal immigration from Bangladesh, which is responsible in large measure for the alarming rise in organised and terrorist crimes in Assam as also elsewhere in the country. On various occasions the efforts of the Army to crack down on ULFA and other terrorist organisations have been stymied by the UPA Government at the behest of Mr Gogoi; hence, he and his patrons in Delhi are clearly accountable for the terrible loss of life and limb. On Friday, Mr Chidambaram disclosed to mediapersons that specific, actionable intelligence had been provided to the State Government about the bombings and that he had himself spoken to Mr Gogoi on Wednesday. Yet, the criminals escaped detection by Assam Police. This raises two questions: Were the bombers alerted by someone in the administration? And, did Assam Police make an honest effort to pre-empt the crime? Mr Gogoi should be asked to answer both questions.

There is no percentage in allowing Mr Gogoi to escape scrutiny. For, once too often he has been caught napping while killers have run amok, laying to waste human lives and property. That he should continue to remain indifferent to the rapidly collapsing internal security situation even after the devastating bombings of October 30 in which 84 people were killed and more than 400 suffered grievous injuries speaks volumes about his intentions: They are definitely not aimed at curbing terrorism. Mr Chidambaram has now promised determined and tough action against banned organisations; he has also declared that the task of going after the separatists and terrorists will be given to the security forces, suggesting that the State Government will not be allowed to meddle in operations conducted by the unified command headed by the Army. Towards this end, he has held a meeting with officials of the unified command and given them the green signal to respond with a heavy hand. It remains to be seen how far his instructions are followed in practice. If the past is any indication, Mr Gogoi will find ways and means of undoing Mr Chidambaram's effort.

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