The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Opposition guns for Gogoi
- AGP, allies call for probe into FCI official’s death

New Delhi, July 14: The Opposition in Assam has mounted a multi-pronged attack on Dispur and Delhi following the death of P.C. Ram, the FCI official who was abducted by Ulfa almost three months ago and killed in a crossfire between the militants and police on Wednesday night.

Taking the issue beyond Assam’s boundaries, the Asom Gana Parishad and its allies in the country, the ADMK and the Telugu Desam Party, today demanded a “high-level inquiry” into Ram’s death.

Besides, former chief minister and AGP (Pragatisheel) president Prafulla Kumar Mahanta met home minister Shivraj Patil and submitted a memorandum to him. “The state government has completely failed to deal with the situation in Assam and we call for central intervention through Article 355,” the party stated in the memorandum.

Mahanta said Assam was facing a constitutional crisis and Ram’s death had raised questions about the functioning of the Tarun Gogoi government.

He alleged that Ram would have been alive had Dispur and Delhi put in a sincere effort to save him. He even claimed that Ram had stated while in captivity that he was not being rescued because he was a Dalit.

Dissatisfied with Patil’s reaction that “Ram’s death is unfortunate”, Mahanta said: “The Centre is playing the role of Dhritarashtra (Duryodhan’s blind father in the Mahabharat).

To top it all, there has been no word from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a Rajya Sabha MP from Assam, after Ram’s “second death”. Singh had issued a condolence message after the official’s death was flashed the first time.

For Gogoi, what is particularly disconcerting is his triple responsibility as the chief minister, home minister and head of the unified command — the three-tiered structure comprising the army, the paramilitary forces and the police. It was the state police that had conducted the operation to save Ram.

Now that the operation has failed, the entire episode has assumed strong political overtones. Gogoi had chosen not to speak to the media on his way to Guwahati from London earlier this week.

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