GUWAHATI: Who is responsible for the killing of over 860 people during the six-year-long Assam Agitation? Two former chief ministers of the State – Tarun Gogoi of the Congress and Prafulla Kumar Mahanta of the AGP – have been in a blame game on this and the debate keeps on lingering.
Reacting to Mahanta blaming the Congress and former chief minister Hiteswar Saikia and former Union minister Tarun Gogoi for the killing of over 860 people in the Assam Agitation, Gogoi told the media on Wednesday: “The then government of Indira Gandhi did offer AASU leaders to accept 1967 as the cut-off date for detection and deportation of foreigners from the State in 1980. Had the AASU leaders accepted that cut-off date, the agitation would have stopped in 1980. The killing of over 860 people during the agitation could have been averted. Oddly enough, in 1985 the AASU leaders accepted midnight of March 24, 1971 as the cut-off date. There was no pressure on the AASU from any quarters to accept the 1971 as the cut-off date.”
Tarun Gogoi further said: “If Mahanta feels that the Congress was responsible for the killing during the Assam Agitation, what prevented him from ordering an inquiry into the killings when he came to power? Had he ordered an inquiry, the truth would’ve come out.”
On the reported bid for AGP-BJP tie-up, Gogoi said: “I know they will inch closer. The AGP leaders need power. Losing power, they’re a restless lot now.”
When asked if the Congress did not invite the AGP for alliance for the Lok Sabha poll, Gogoi said: “We did, but there was no response from the other end. I know, the AGP will tilt that way.”
When asked on the possibility of any Congress-AIUDF alliance in the State, Gogoi said: “It’s an absolute no. The AIUDF is our enemy. The AIUDF remaining alive in the State is tantamount to making the BJP thrive.”
When reminded of the fact that the AIUDF is very close to the UPA at the Centre, Gogoi said: “Let the AIUDF be close to the UPA, but not with us here.”
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