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Home / India News / 2007 / May 2007 / May 3, 2007
200 Assamese families seek an end to violence
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200 Assamese families seek an end to violence

People in Assam want an end to the violence in the state. This was the message of a sit in protest by 200 families, all of whom had lost kith and kin in more than two decades of mayhem in the state.

By Peter Alex Todd

Guwahati, May 3 : People in Assam want an end to the violence in the state. This was the message of a sit in protest by 200 families, all of whom had lost kith and kin in more than two decades of mayhem in the state.

Staging a demonstration in the heart of Guwahati, the protesting families sought answers to the same question. Why did the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) target members of their families, be it a father, or a husband, or a little son?

There are mothers who are looking for their innocent sons who were made a target by the ULFA. Why did the ULFA snatch away their sons? They are waiting for answers and for their lost sons.

A mother who had lost her eight-year-old son asks: "What crime did my son commit? He was just eight-and-half-years old. Perpetrators of such an act should be punished. What crime did he commit? Had a grown up person been killed, I could have understood that he committed some crime but my son was too young."

Anjali Baniya is too young to be a widow. But, the stark reality is that she is one. In a blast in 2005, the ULFA permanently removed the smile from her face.

There are many like Anjali who face an uncertain future in the absence of a breadwinner for the family. Government support is just too little, if there is any. They are left to their fate.

ULFA leaders Paresh Baruah and Arbind Rajkhowa lead comfortable lives on foreign soil, and probably cannot or would not fathom the pain and anguish of these common Assamese.

" My husband was supposed to come home for lunch and we were expecting him in the afternoon but he never came back. Now, it is very difficult to sustain my three children. I am having difficulties in educating and feeding them. If the government or perpetrators of the violence should take care of my children now," says Anjali Baniya.

"No solution will come through bloodshed. All you get is chaos; they are killing their own people from the Assamese community. The killings should end and a solution on this issue has to be formulated," Jatindranath Deka, a victim of ULFA violence.

Just a week before the victims of violence came on the street to protest, the wives of missing ULFA cadres observed a hunger strike. They want those cadres who are missing since the Bhutan operation to be handed over to them.

Indira Goswami, the famous Assamese litterateur lent support to the wives. But it baffles the common Assamese why is she silent on the killings by the ULFA and those who have been kidnapped by the ULFA.

"Now, we are facing scarcity, we are not able to finish our education, no proper earning to finish our education, no proper earning to feed ourselves. My mother earns is a daily wage earner. Everyday she earns fifty rupees to feed five persons in the family," says Zumi Deka, another victim.

According to the recent Home Ministry report Assam registered two-fold increase in violence this year so far compared to the last year.

More than seventy people have been gunned down up to now.156 incidents of violence by the ULFA has been reported this year alone compared to 85 last year.

An analysis of the recent ULFA blast by the Institute of Conflict Studies shows that the outfit has lost popular support.

Most of the recent blasts concentrate on soft targets, an indication of the rebels' desperation in the absence of a confrontation with state forces.

No ideology permits the killing of innocent people. The message from the people to the ULFA is loud and clear - "Don't come in our way. Let us grow and live in peace".


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