Silchar, Jan. 22: A youth who could well have been a militant today breached chief minister Tarun Gogoi’s security ring during a meeting in Silchar, walked right up to him and requested “financial assistance”.
Gogoi was on the dais along with Union heavy industries minister Sontosh Mohan Dev and several state ministers when Faruk, alias Bacchu, strode nonchalantly past the posse of police and CRPF personnel at the venue and reached within handshaking distance of him.
Luckily for the chief minister and the other leaders, Faruk turned out to be a cranky youth rather than one with any ulterior motive. He pleaded for financial help — and very loudly at that — before the dumbstruck security personnel gathered their wits about them and whisked him away.
A senior police official said the youth would be “thoroughly interrogated” to assess his mental condition and gauge his intentions.
Faruk said he was a resident of Itkhola, on the northern flank of this south Assam town.
Addressing the gathering at Ramnagar, Gogoi said the outlawed Ulfa’s main objective was to disrupt implementation of development schemes in the state. He said government was determined to go ahead with its development agenda, “come what may”.
Gogoi was speaking at the inauguration of an inter-state bus and truck terminus in the area.
The chief minister accused Ulfa of engineering the upheaval in the state at the behest of “anti-Indian forces” active in some of the neighbouring countries. “No force, whether extraneous or internal, will be able to derail the progress as well as the ongoing development efforts.”
Gogoi, who recently took over the reins of the Unified Command for counter-insurgency operations in the state, said strategies would be altered as and when required to beat back Ulfa’s challenge.
He said the overwhelming majority was in favour of peace.
Chief secretary P.C. Sarma said on the sidelines of the rally that more central forces would be deployed in the state to maintain law and order during the National Games in Guwahati. He said the state government has requested Delhi to “speedily despatch” more bomb-detection devices to the police.