EDITORIAL

No Space for Violence in Assam

Nupur Das

Every time the images of slain cop Bhaskar Kalita and the videos of the aggrieved family members along with the kids surface, every person’s heart in Assam wrenches. A state of grief has persisted since then. It is very unfortunate that despite spending huge sums of money in the name of police modernization and upgrade, a young brave son had been martyred due to the piercing of bullets through his bullet-proof jacket. It is either because of outdated and low-quality products that have been used which could not resist the automated and sophisticated weapons of the ULFA militants or because inferior-quality products had been purchased by the Assam Police earlier in the name of police modernization, risking the lives of cops while a few easily filled their pockets. A thorough and independent investigation under the supervision of a credible person of high repute and whose integrity is intact is the need of the hour to check what exactly went wrong. 
Secondly, allegations have surfaced about the involvement of a “third party” in the derailment of the peace talks of the pro-talks faction of ULFA with the Government of India. More so, after the alleged kidnapping of Rebati Phukan, followed by the Bordomshila incident, the developments of the day have raised the needle of suspicion amongst the people in Assam. 
The Central government and the security agencies must leave no stone unturned to make the peace talks a success with pragmatic solutions, ending the decades-old problem of insurgency in Assam. This would also definitely send a very clear message to the other insurgents groups of the Northeast and set an example of peaceful negotiations bringing prosperity to the region. The success of peaceful negotiation may also have positive outcomes for negotiations in the future with separatist groups of Kashmir and left-wing extremists, whose violence has crippled the country to a great extent. Therefore, the government must ensure positive outcomes of the talks with ULFA without any delay. 
Lastly, an appeal to the hardliner faction of ULFA led by Paresh Baruah: sooner he comes for talks and gives up his rigid stance, better will it be for the larger interest of the State. He and his faction must now realize that Assam is not what it was three decades ago. Many positive changes have taken place, and people are exhausted of the grief and fear they witnessed during the past few decades. Many issues have been solved democratically and will continue to be solved.  People in the State are developing a good work culture. The State has been gaining accolades in many aspects even at the global stage as of now. People no longer associate themselves with the ideologies of the hardliner faction of ULFA. 
In fact, Paresh Baruah should make an attempt to not disturb the peace that has prevailed in Assam after so many years. He should instead try to contribute to bringing positive changes in the economy, and also contribute to fighting against natural calamities like flood and soil erosion and other challenges, and not divert the minds of young and innocent youths by involving them in senseless violence. Violence has no space here. Assam cannot afford to continue to bleed. Let peace and prosperity prevail in the State.