Oct. 3: Assam woke up to the sound of more explosions after the worst-ever bloodshed in the Northeast in recent times but the Centre refused to be thrown off its policy of talks with insurgent groups.
At least six more people were killed today in fresh strikes in Assam, prompting the state to put the glare back on Bangladesh.
Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi reasserted that the 'roots' lie beyond the borders. 'The roots are in Bangladesh and Myanmar. These roots have to be uprooted,' he said in Guwahati, referring to allegations of camps being run by Indian fugitives across the border.
Over 50 people have been killed in Assam and Nagaland since yesterday in a series of militant strikes.
Keen to shrug off a perception of lethargy while dealing with crises, Union home minister Shivraj Patil today touched down in Assam and visited Nagaland, which was rocked by two explosions yesterday. Patil, whose handling of the Manipur uprising had drawn criticism, will tour the violence-hit areas of Assam tomorrow.
Assam has been pressing for operations similar to that in Bhutan last December to dismantle the alleged camps in Bangladesh. Security officials pointed out today that the latest round of violence proved that the Bhutan military operation had not 'broken the back' of the militants.
They added that the senseless violence has also raised questions whether Assam outfits like Ulfa and the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) ' prime suspects for the attacks though no evidence has been found yet ' will ever reciprocate peace overtures. The onslaught had come barely 48 hours after Gogoi offered to declare a ceasefire if the militants ended hostilities by October 15.
But the Centre remained optimistic ' at least in the case of Nagaland, where it is engaged in negotiations with the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah).
'Talks have paid dividends in Nagaland for the last seven years and this showed that talks are always useful,' Patil said.
Patil stressed on increasing coordination between the Centre and the state as well as among the affected states of the region on intelligence sharing. He also offered the full support of the Centre to the two states.
The home minister said the authorities were still to establish a link or a pattern in the attack in the two states. 'Only the date, place and the way the incidents took place are common. It is too early to jump to any conclusion,' he said. The minister's cautious comments came as the NSCN (I-M) blamed a 'non-Naga' outfit and its 'Naga ally' for the blasts.