Other States

Centre wanted ‘secret killings’ to continue: Tarun Gogoi

Former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi claimed on Wednesday that the previous NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee had pressured him to continue with “secret killings”. He accused his predecessor Prafulla Kumar Mahanta of having pursued the practice during 1996-2001 to break the backbone of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA).

The ruling BJP said Mr. Gogoi's allegation was “baseless” while Mr. Mahanta retaliated by saying “extrajudicial killings” had started in Assam under the Congress rule.

Mr. Gogoi, whose 15-year rule ended in 2016, claimed that Lal Krishna Advani, the then Union Home Minister, wanted to send former Punjab police chief K.P.S. Gill to Assam as Governor to quell insurgency with the formula that helped tackle the militancy in Punjab.

“We were pressured to continue with guptahoitya (extrajudicial or secret killlings), but we did not do it. When I took over (in 2001), the BJP wanted the secret killings to continue through Mr. Gill,” Mr. Gogoi said.

He said the stiff resistance put by his government prevented Mr. Advani from sending Mr. Gill, an IPS officer of Assam-Meghalaya cadre, to Assam.

“Guptahoitya” refers to a phase in the late 1990s when masked men, allegedly sponsored by the government, killed suspected ULFA militants and their kin.

“The secret killings happened when Mr. Mahanta was in power. The BJP was in power at the Centre then. Now, Mr. Mahanta says that he did it on instructions of the Centre,” Mr. Gogoi said.

‘Baseless allegation’

BJP’s Assam unit president Ranjeet K. Dass rubbished the accusation, saying his party favoured dialogue with the ULFA as has been the case with National Socialist Council of Nagaland. “He is trying to cover up for something the Congress was adept at,” he said. Party’s Assam unit general secretary Dilip Saikia said: “We have always believed in the integrity of India but not at the cost of secret killings of innocent people. Why did he not order an enquiry on secret killings if he was honest? He is doing cheap, divisive politics,” he said.

Saikia blamed

Mr. Mahanta, the former chief of Asom Gana Parishad, a BJP's ally until January this year, blamed the practice on his predecessor Hiteswar Saikia, who headed the Congress government during the Assam agitation (1983-85) and 1991-1996.

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Printable version | Mar 4, 2021 6:22:03 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/centre-wanted-secret-killings-to-continue-tarun-gogoi/article26325307.ece

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