Chief minister Tarun Gogoi at the book fair in Guwahati on Saturday. (PTI)
Guwahati, Oct. 13: Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi today said the Ulfa faction led by Paresh Barua was in possession of sophisticated devices aimed at causing mayhem in the state.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a function at the Guwahati Book Fair ground here, Gogoi said there were intelligence reports that a group had entered the state to carry out subversive activities in the coming days.
“The hardline faction of Ulfa is trying desperately to indulge in acts of violence to attract publicity and prove its strength or existence. They are using sophisticated explosive devices,” he said.
Police and security forces are already in an overdrive in view of the coming festive season, especially as Ulfa is known to engage in activities like lobbing grenades during Puja celebrations. The chief minister refused to divulge more but intelligence sources said Ulfa’s attempts at violence had the twin objectives of proving its presence and terrorising those who refused to meet its demand for money.
“Though funds flow to the Barua faction has gone down after the government’s peace talks with the Arabinda Rajkhowa group, the anti-talks faction has been serving extortion notices to persons and organisations in upper and lower Assam quite regularly,” a source said.
Releasing the reprinted version of Dharma Pustak, the first book printed in Assamese, Gogoi said young people visiting the book fair in large numbers was a positive development for a state like Assam, which was plagued by myriad problems like insurgency, flood and erosion.
Dharma Pustak, a translation of the New Testament into Assamese by Atmaram Sharma, was published in 1813. The book was lost and later found in the British Museum, London, last year.
“Problems and adversities also lead to creations. Literature, poetry and many other positive things can be born amidst problems. So, the people of Assam should not be afraid of problems because it can bring out the best in them and they can find new ways. An event like book fair should concentrate on developing positive mindsets among the people,” Gogoi said.
Education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma termed the release of the reprinted version of Dharma Pustak as a “historic occasion” and said the government had plans to search for rare books lost in the course of time and reprint them.
Litterateur Surjya Hazarika, who played a crucial role in getting the image copy of the book from the British Museum and getting it reprinted, said Dharma Pustak would open an in-depth discussion among intellectuals and scholars in the state on the history of printing books and the status of literature two centuries ago.