Guwahati, Aug. 19: Chief minister Tarun Gogoi has initiated all possible measures to check any fallout of the recent BTAD riots and the consequent rumour-triggered nationwide exodus of Northeast-origin people.
This became evident during a media interaction this evening convened by the chief minister to appeal for peace and harmony.
Gogoi said he had directed senior administration and police officials, including two retired directors-general of police, current director-general of police J.N. Choudhury, chief secretary N.K. Das, to prepare an action plan to deal with all kinds of law and order emergencies related to the recent riots and exodus during a high-level meeting held earlier in the day.
Besides the action plan, Gogoi said he was concentrating on confidence-building measures to restore peace. “I am praying to Allah to ensure peace and harmony,” he told reporters, reflecting the seriousness as well as Dispur’s wariness in the wake of the unsavoury developments.
Sources told The Telegraph that the two former directors-general of police were Shankar Barua and G.M. Srivastava, the latter having also served as the security adviser to the chief minister, a post which had not been revived in Gogoi’s third straight term in Dispur.
“Apart from senior serving officials, Gogoi is also tapping expert advice from former officials. It’s a good move. There is now a sense of purpose and clarity about what he is trying to achieve. New channels of communications will help keep a leash on mischief-mongers. There are indications that the post of the security adviser may be revived,” the source said, adding that the government had also activated peace committees across the state and asked MLAs, ministers and block presidents to play an active role in building confidence.
The office-bearers of the newly constituted Assam PCC, in its first sitting at Rajiv Bhawan here this morning with president Bhubaneswar Kalita, discussed the BTAD situation and ways to help provide relief to the affected.
Senior Assam PCC member Haren Das, delivering a talk on the situation in Assam at IIM Ahmedabad, requested the students to issue an appeal to the student community elsewhere to stop the exodus of Northeast-origin people from other states.
Das told The Telegraph that he had tried to send a message that the problem of Assam should not be seen in isolation and be treated as a national problem.
He also appealed to them to remove misconceptions about people from the Northeast with Mongoloid features.
“I told the enlightened gathering that the situation in Assam was tough but the chief minister was doing his best to restore normality for which he had been appreciated by both the UPA chairperson and the Prime Minister,” Das said.
Gogoi, however, for the fourth straight day, did not shed light on the resignation of health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
“Reshuffle for me at this moment is not important; will see when the time comes; my concentration is on peace and harmony,” Gogoi said, keeping the suspense going.
Sarma tweeted to reveal that he would be in Delhi and Chandigarh for the next three days indulging in apolitical activities. “Request everyone 2 support, cooperate with our CM. Hope I could have done my bit. But destiny do nt allow everything 2 happen d way we want it,” another of his tweets said, dropping broad hints about his imminent departure from the state cabinet.
Sources said Gogoi is going slow to test the waters, already disturbed, owing to the situation in BTAD and a possible backlash for dropping an influential minister and one-time close political aide. “Things will become clear by Tuesday-Wednesday,” one of them said.