The concern of AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh over the use of illegal arms in the recent riots that rocked the BTAD areas of Assam is indeed most touching. If anything, it serves to add sauce to the charade of pretence relating to vital issues of Assam like militancy, large-scale illegal migration from Bangladesh, electoral rolls, identity cards for citizens, the lack of industrial development triggering off the highest unemployment rate in the country and so on that the Congress has carried on for years as and when it has been in power. On August 10, Singh told journalists at a press meet in Guwahati that the matter of disarming all the people in possession of illegal arms should be taken up at the highest level. This is a puerile statement that even school children can be counted on to make. There is nothing profound in it. We do not need the eminence of someone like Digvijay Singh to make us aware of such rudimentary home truths. But the pretence and the prevarication that go with it are of some consequence. Digvijay Singh would probably have us believe that he is not aware of the general amnesty that the then Chief Minister of Assam Hiteswar Saikia extended to the cadres of the ULFA that had surrendered in 1992. There was a colourful ceremony, and Hiteswar Saikia magnanimously permitted a large number of the ULFA cadres to retain some of their sophisticated weapons of the Anatoly Kalashnikov series (AK-47s and AK-56s) for their personal safety. What he obviously overlooked was that many of the ULFA cadres who had surrendered had already retained some of their weapons for a rainy day, and Hiteswar Saikia’s largesse was actually a windfall of sorts. What was even more interesting was that Saikia had even got senior Army officers to issue slips to serve as some kind of a licence to legitimize these illegal weapons. After the initial phase, Army officers refused to sign such slips. However, Hiteswar Saikia had already managed to create another Frankenstein Monster that got to be known as the SULFA (for surrendered ULFA) that became even more of a threat to civil life than the ULFA itself. The police knew how well armed the SULFA men were, and looked the other way whenever they passed by. The SULFA men have used their sophisticated arms to create unholy syndicates in most business activities and to stoke inflation thereby, to prevent legitimate contractors with many years of experience from filing tenders for contracts and in general creating an ambience of lawlessness and crime. As general secretary of the Congress, Digvijay Singh must know only too well that his political party has been at the forefront of all organizations responsible for putting clandestine, unlicensed arms in circulation in Assam. And now he pretends that the existence of clandestine arms in the State is news to him! Digvijay Singh must also be aware of how Rajiv Gandhi had sent officers of the RAW to train Bodo youths to make improvised explosive devices (IEDs) because he wanted the AGP government to be destabilized. Digvijay Singh must be wise enough and experienced enough to realize by now that one reaps as one has sown. And that is precisely what the governments in Assam and at the Centre are doing now.
As if the pretence of Digvijay Singh, Badruddin Ajmal and Tarun Gogoi were not enough, the Prime Minister promised a 12-member delegation of the AIUDF in New Delhi on the same day that all the illegal arms in the BTAD area would be seized soon. What emboldens him to make wild and irresponsible statements like this when the nation knows the track records of both the Union government and the State government? Everyone knows that this is an impossible task given the weaponry in the hands of our police forces and the kind of weapons that will have to be seized. Can it be a legitimate objective of the Prime Minister of a country to make impossible empty promises to the nation merely to buy time? We consider this highly unethical conduct on the part of the Prime Minister.