Guwahati, Oct. 30: Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi today held out the proverbial carrot-and-stick to militants, calling them “brothers” on the one hand and promising strong action if they did not return to the mainstream on the other.
He was speaking at a ceremony organised at Ganeshguri here to pay homage to victims of the blasts on this day in 2008.
“This day (October 30) will be remembered as a black day in Assam’s history. Extremism will bring nothing to the state. But those who have chosen the path of violence are also our brothers. We want them to return to the mainstream. If they return, we will accept them or else, we will suppress violence with an iron hand,” the chief minister said. Gogoi unveiled a martyrs’ memorial altar dedicated to the memory of the victims of Ganeshguri bomb blast at the function that was organised by the Kamrup district administration below the Ganeshguri flyover.
The memorial, created by sculptor Biren Singha, features a tree, some fallen leaves and a few blank frames.
Gogoi said because of the relentless efforts of the state government, militancy was on the wane and extremist groups no longer enjoyed sympathy of the people. “We have taken various steps to bring militancy to an end. That is why it is on the wane in the state. During the past three years, not a single civilian died in militancy-related acts in Guwahati.”
Appealing to the militant outfits that are yet to eschew violence to return to the mainstream, Gogoi said, “Violence has no place in our polity. Violence does not lead to solution of any problem; it brings only misery and hardships and pushes society into the abyss of darkness. It is against this backdrop, those who have not given up arms must realise the futility of violence and return to the mainstream in the greater interest of society.” He said the state had more serious problems like floods to solve for which a peaceful atmosphere was required. He lauded the efforts of sculptor Singha for creating the memorial altar and hoped that it would revive humanism among one and all. He suggested that the names of the blast victims be inscribed at the memorial site.
Gogoi expressed his heartfelt sympathy to the bereaved family members of the blast victims and prayed for eternal peace of the departed souls.
Some of the victims’ family members were present at the function. For many, their tears were yet to dry and they wept remembering their near and dear ones; some had even carried along pictures of their kith and kin who had died that day. The venue bore a sombre look with painters using their brush to express their thoughts on peace, schoolchildren lighting lamps and people offering floral tributes at the memorial altar.
Sculptor Biren Singha said his creation signified the terror of violence striking at the very existence of life and with the fond hope that life would spring forth with the glow of the earthen lamps dispelling darkness. The function was also attended by minister for revenue and disaster management Prithivi Majhi, minister for social welfare Akon Bora, parliamentary secretary Bhupen Kumar Bora, GMDA chairman Robin Bordoloi, director-general of police J.N. Choudhury and Kamrup (metro) deputy commissioner Ashutosh Agnihotri.