Those who have had experience of several general elections in Assam in the past will readily concede that the pre-poll atmosphere has never been as squalid as they are this time. There have been blatant violations of the code of conduct laid down for elections. The distribution of yarn for looms, blankets, mosquito nets and money to voters has been done openly in clear violation of election rules. The Election Commission that ought to have taken stringent action against such offences, has remained a silent spectator. Slanging matches and the purveying of lies in the form of data relating to so-called development and figures furnished for promises to the electorate have taken unprecedented forms and plumbed deeper levels of depravity. The Congress government has turned a blind eye on the 15,800 bighas of Wakf land that has been encroached upon or other Wakf property that has been misused. But all this pales into insignificance in the face of what Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi threatened to do just before the first phase of the Assembly elections. For some time, Tarun Gogoi had been talking about the secret killings of the relatives, friends and sympathizers of the ULFA militants by unidentified persons during the AGP rule when Prafulla Kumar Mahanta was Chief Minister of the State. Lately, he has also been accusing BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Sarbanda Sonowal of “protecting” those involved in the secret killings by not taking any action against any official. Last Thursday, he made the puerile statement that his government would recommend a CBI probe into the “secret killings” to the Centre. Such a statement, made just a few days before the first phase of the Assembly elections, raises a prompt and pertinent question. Tarun Gogoi must let the people of Assam know what he did during the 15 years of “development” and the 15 years of “peoples’ faith in his party” about getting a probe conducted by the CBI into the secret killings done by the AGP and the earlier NDA government at the Centre instead of having to wait almost till polling day for such an initiative.
Inquiry into Killings