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India's Swat Valley

India's Swat Valley

Author: Editorial
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: April 8, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/168053/India's-Swat-Valley.html

In Assam, the state has surrendered

With seven dead, the April 6 bombings in four different cities in Assam have brought the terror toll in the State to 107 in the past five months. Beginning with the October 30, 2008, explosions in Guwahati and two other locations - collectively killing 91 people - terror has inaugurated a destructive phase in the largest State in the North-East. A pernicious partnership between the Bangladesh-based Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami and the United Liberation Front of Asom has announced itself. Intelligence sources believe underlying the alliance is the realisation that there is no real strategic contradiction between the two groups. HuJI claims lower Assam as territory where the Mughals had made some inroads, and as a 'Muslim region' that should be united with Bangladesh; ULFA sees upper Assam as an 'Ahomiya homeland' that should be an independent country, free of India. The message for New Delhi is clear. On January 1, Guwahati saw bombings hours before Home Minister P Chidambaram reached for a visit. On March 31, there were explosions preceding Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee's visit. And now the most recent attacks came on the eve of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's arrival. A comatose State Government - led, like the Central administration, by a confused and compromised Congress - has been entirely unable to check the terror onslaught. Indeed, it has allowed the cross-border networks to repeatedly embarrass and humiliate the Indian state. Mr Tarun Gogoi's Government in Dispur is only marginally more in control of things than the supposedly mainstream Government that claims to be in charge of Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province. Like in another context in 1962, the Congress has left Assam and the Assamese to their fate, singularly incapable of ensuring security. The ruling party is trapped by Muslim political managers, many of whom deliver the votes of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. The demographic character of Assam has been transformed; in a few years the State will cease to be the bastion of Indic culture, of the worship of the Devi of Kamakhaya, of the traditions of the great monk-philosopher Shankardeva. A whole history is being betrayed.

When it comes to ULFA, the Congress has at various points propped it up, given it legitimacy by talking to it through busybody intermediaries who have no idea about ground conditions in Assam and about the conversion of an Assamese 'nationalist' radical group into an accomplice of global jihad. The determined efforts of the NDA Government had ULFA on the ropes. By promising 'peace talks', the Congress-led UPA Government gave its ringleaders breathing space. This is exactly what the party did with the Maoists in Andhra Pradesh, before better sense prevailed and Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy unleashed the elite Greyhound force to decapitate the red militia. In Assam, alas, there was no iron fist behind the velvet glove. The result is a regularity of terrorist attacks unmatched anywhere outside Pakistan.

While the UPA leadership claims credit for its diplomatic action against Islamabad post-26/11, it conveniently ignores the five-year refusal to contest domestic sources of mass terror and lack of attention to India's eastern front. Assam is paying the price for this callous disregard. In the coming Lok Sabha election, the State will be voting for its future. The BJP-AGP alliance is Assam's last remaining bulwark against terror. It must be strengthened.

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