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Talks offer not a sign of weakness: Manmohan

A WORD OF COMFORT: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh consoling relatives of victims of the recent attacks by ULFA militants, at Masaldhara in Tinsukia district of Upper Assam on Tuesday. Beside him is Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.

A WORD OF COMFORT: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh consoling relatives of victims of the recent attacks by ULFA militants, at Masaldhara in Tinsukia district of Upper Assam on Tuesday. Beside him is Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.   | Photo Credit: Photo: Rit u Raj Konwar

Sushanta Talukdar

Victims' kin to get jobs; door open for talks with ULFA

Announces relief package for ULFA attack victimsAssures all support to State Government

Mohanbari airport (Dibrugarh): Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said his Government would not tolerate violence and would ensure the safety of all citizens in Assam using all resources at its command. He, however, kept the doors open for a dialogue with the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA).

Dr. Singh announced a compensation of Rs. 2 lakh to the next of kin of each of the deceased from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund, and one job to each of the families which lost its breadwinner in the ULFA carnage.

Financial assistance would be provided if any of the families preferred to open shops or set up other ventures to accepting jobs.

"Forgo violence"

"I would like to make it clear that there is no room for violence and it will not be tolerated. I appeal to all sections of society to forgo violence as a means to resolve problems. At the same time, I would like to reiterate that the doors for dialogue are open to all disaffected groups including the ULFA which are willing to abjure violence," Dr. Singh told reporters here before returning to Delhi after visiting the violence-affected Tinsukia and Dibrugarh districts.

He issued a statement after visiting Masaldhara in Sadiya, where 13 Biharis were gunned down, and a relief camp sheltering migrant brick kiln workers at the Sepon High School in Dibrugarh district. The affected families and displaced Hindi-speaking people appealed to Dr. Singh to provide them adequate security.

The Prime Minister said an army brigade headquarters was shifted to Upper Assam, and counter-insurgency operations, patrolling and combing were intensified.

"The Government of India is firm in its resolve to work with the people and the State Government to ensure that terrorist groups do not succeed in their nefarious designs. There will be no compromise with these groups if they resort to violence."

Dr. Singh said: "No one should mistake our openness for talks and dialogue as a sign of weakness. The Indian state has an obligation to provide security and protect the lives of its law-abiding citizens. This we will discharge, let there be no doubt on that. At the same time, the Indian state can accommodate a diversity of opinion, and provides scope for meeting a wide range of needs and aspirations and allowing many cultures and identities to exist. I am sure that if we persist with the process of dialogue, a solution can certainly be found in Assam today just as it has been found for many other groups and entities."

Reviews security

Earlier, on arrival at the airport, Dr. Singh reviewed the security measures and counter-insurgency operations at a meeting with Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and senior officials of the Army, the Assam police and Central paramilitary forces.

Asked about the steps taken with Bangladesh and Myanmar to flush out rebels operating from there, Dr. Singh said that on Monday he talked to his Myanmarese counterpart in the Philippines, who assured him that action would be taken if India provided adequate feedback.

To a question whether the ULFA killings occurred on the instruction of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence, he declined to comment.



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