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Panel opens can of worms

Guwahati, Nov. 17: The People’s Committee for Peace Initiatives, Assam (PCPIA), the pressure group of 27 organisations mobilising support for peace talks between the government and Ulfa, today set a three-month deadline for the Tarun Gogoi government to come up with a concrete plan of action on the sensational findings of the Justice (retd) K.N. Saikia Commission.

The commission had probed the secret killings that rocked the state between 1998 and 2001, in which relatives and associates of Ulfa activists were murdered. The PCPIA today also sought a complete list of those killed.

One of PCPIA’s chief convenors, Lachit Bordoloi, said if the government really wished to show its sincerity and commitment towards the families and relatives of those killed in the “Ulfocide”, as the Saikia commission has described the secret killings, it should set up the experts’ panel immediately to weigh the possibility of legal action against former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta and others indicted by the panel.

The PCPIA also wanted Dispur to prepare the complete list of those killed during the period when the AGP-led government was in power in Dispur and make it public.

“We don’t want the report to be reduced to a tool for political one-upmanship. It is not the time for political gimmicks. The issue is serious and needs serious handling. We want a concrete plan of action. This can be achieved within three months and this should be made public,” Bordoloi said, without elaborating as to what steps the PCPIA will take if the deadline is missed.

The PCPIA chief convenor also said it was Dispur’s moral responsibility to probe all the cases. “Only a few cases were probed by the commission. There are many. This can be done through a separate measure, such as giving the Saikia Commission another mandate to probe the cases,” he said. The Saikia Commission had probed 35 cases in all.

But the Assam PCC also launched a scathing attack on Mahanta today for what it described as his “wild” allegations against Gogoi. PCC spokesman Rajesh Kumar Joshi, while welcoming the Saikia Commission report, lambasted Mahanta for his “baseless banter”.

Joshi said, “Mahanta’s remark that the K.N. Saikia Commission report was placed to appease Ulfa is not only misleading but mischievous. The party wants Mahanta to refrain from making baseless allegations and be prepared to face the consequences of his misdeeds.”

Mahanta today accused the Tarun Gogoi government of hatching a “political conspiracy” to damage the image of regional politics in Assam, adds PTI. Denying his hand in the secret killings, Mahanta alleged at a convention of his party, the AGP (Progressive), that under the present Congress regime, several killings have taken place but the government has not even ordered a judicial probe.

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