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Insurgency in Assam: Top electoral issue

GUWAHATI: Insurgency in Assam has for the past two decades remained the top most electoral issue. Every time an explosion takes place, people protest by taking to the streets or hastily downing shutters.

Many voters in the state believe the insurgency problem can be solved only through strong political will. They were voicing their ire in the aftermath of Monday���s deadly blasts in the Maligaon area of Guwahati, where people downed shutters on Tuesday as a mark of protest. Incidentally, banned outfit ULFA observes its foundation day every year on April 7. The outfit was formed in 1979.

Not surprisingly, children of a primary school near the blast site were scared to go to school. The business community also fears the serial explosion of Monday will undermine the pre-Bihu festival shopping spree as customers after the blasts in market places stay away from crowded places. Rongali Bihu season is good business season for garment and consumer goods industry.

In the run up to the polls, Assam has already witnessed a series of explosions, attacks on political rallies and the murder of a journalist. And the run-up to the 2009 parliamentary poll is one of the bloodiest in Assam���s political history.

Dhiren Baruah, a public activist and a voter felt that insurgency in Assam is a political problem. "It is clear to the ULFA that people of Assam do not subscribe to their demands of a sovereign or independent Assam. However, there is a lack of effort both on part of the Assam government and Delhi on resolving the problem. Somehow, there is an effort to keep the issue of insurgency alive".

He argued that discussions with outfits hold the key to solve this problem and people require a politician who can do this.

Security analysts argue that the range of violence in Upper Assam, the bastion of insurgency movement and industry centre of the state, has drastically come down in the last one year. About 70 members of "A" and "C" company of 28 battalion of ULFA had declared unilateral suspension of operations in June 2007.

Ever since the pro talk group decided to come to negotiate peace, violent incidents in Upper Assam areas have drastically come down.

But since then 709 and 27 battalions of ULFA have unleased a wave of terror in pockets of Lower Assam. Eminent literatteur, Rong Bong Teron, who is also the president of premier literary body, Assam Sahitya Sabha while condemning the incident, echoed that insurgency in Assam requires a political solution. It has to be solved politically.

Chairman of Federation of Industry and Commerce of Northeastern Region (FINER) and a voter of Guwahati Lok Sabha constituency R. S. Joshi added that there is a need for participatory democracy to solve the long pending problem of militancy. It is only through talks and negotiations that this problem can be solved.

According to the state government, in last 8 years there are 605 bomb blasts in Assam.
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