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                          Vol.3, No.60 [*] August 13, 1998

          There is nothing in this world constant but inconstancy.
                            - Jonathan Swift
   The  ULFA  chairman  Arabinda  Rajkhowa  cautioned that the series of
   killings of the family members of the participants in  the  `national
   struggle  for liberation of Assam' conveyed an ominous signal for the
   unforeseen future.  In a faxed statement, Mr Rajkhowa said on  August
   12  that the ULFA was convinced that the surrendered ULFA (SULFA) was
   not involved in the killings, but they  were  the  handiwork  of  the
   `Indian state.'
   Mr  Rajkhowa's  statement, which was unusually sobre in the language,
   tone and tenor, made a feverent  appeal  to  all  the  `well-wishers,
   relatives,  friends  and  well-meaning  people'  connected  with  the
   `liberation struggle' to display restraint and keep patience  against
   all  kinds of provocations at this hour and cautioned that the design
   of the  `Indian  state'  was  to  involve  the  outfit  in  senseless
   bloodletting  and mayhem and thereby force it to embark on a suicidal
   He said that though all  the  surrendered  militants  are  not  their
   enemies,  the  ULFA  would never pardon those who are working against
   the `national  liberation  struggle'  for  their  own  self-interest.
   However,  the  ULFA  is  against  the  idea of attacking the innocent
   family members of  those  SULFA  men  who  are  working  against  the
   liberation struggle.

   The Manav Adhikar Sangram Samiti (MASS), a human rights group, warned
   that  it  would  not tolerate any act of the surrendered ULFA (SULFA)
   and the `Indian state' which would  affect  innocent  civilians.  The
   latest  spate of killings of innocent members of the families of ULFA
   activists in retaliation to killings of SULFA and Army personnel, had
   heralded a `civil war' in the State, it warned and said, the killings
   of the members of the  families  of  ULFA  chief  Arabinda  Rajkhowa,
   Mithinga Daimary et el proved this.
   The  father of Mithinga Daimary, Khagen Das feels that the killing of
   his family members on August 12 was the handiwork of the  surrendered
   ULFA  members, while security personnel points to Bodo militants, the
   Bodoland Liberation Tiger (BLT) for the killing, indicating that  the
   outfit does  not  have  good terms with the ULFA.  Security personnel
   also said that the family was under threat and they were planning  to
   evacuate.   However,  local  people  claimed  that the family was not
   planning to move out of the village, and added  that  Army  personnel
   frequently  visited  the household in search of Mithinga Daimary, who
   has not visited his home for years.
   A group of five or six unidentified armed youths wearing  masks  (The
   Assam  Tribune reported as 10 to 12 men), shot dead the elder brother
   of Mithinga Daimary, ULFA's publicity secretary,  Dr.Dharanidhar  Das
   (40), who was the Nalbari District Leprosy Officer, his pregnant wife
   Rupjyoti  Saikia  (32),  mother  Phuleswari  Das  (55) and his sister
   Latika Das (20) after awakening them from their slumber at just after
   midnight.  Dharanidhar Das was also  the  secretary  of  the  Nalbari
   district Xahitya Xabha.  He was a gifted poet in Assamese too.
   Dr.Das's  four-year-old son, Bhaskar Das, a guest Ms Nirmali Das (25)
   and the maid servant, Soni (12) escaped the killers.  While the guest
   and the maid kept themselves locked in one room, Bhaskar hid  himself
   under the bed when they heard gunshots.  Incidently, Dr.Das's father,
   Khagen Das was not at home and had gone to his elder daughter's house
   at Manikpur.    He  arrived  at his house at Nijjulukigaon, half-a-km
   from Barama police station in  the  morning,  quite  unaware  of  the
   night's incident.  He remained dumbfounded unable to believe what had
   happened to his family, and burst into tears.

   Police recovered 28 empty cartridges of 315 bore, AK-47 rifles,  nine
   mm  carbines and .38 revolvers from the scene of the incident. People
   of the locality did not hear the gunshots as it was  raining  heavily
   and came to know about the incident in the morning only.
   Night  curfew  has been clamped from 8 pm to 6 am in Tangla town area
   following   tensions    between    Assamese-speaking    people    and
   Bengali-speaking  people  at  Tangla town, known as a hub of business
   activity in Darrang district.  The tensions escalated when a group of
   unidentified militants, armed  with  sophisticated  weapons,  swooped
   down  on Subhaspalli, a Bengali-speaking-people-dominated locality in
   the  town  at  about  8:30  pm  on  August  11,  and  started  firing
   indiscriminately  on  the  people  killing  two women on the spot and
   injuring 11 others.  Two injured  persons  died  at  Mangaldoi  civil
   hospital.  (The Assam Tribune reported that the militants belonged to
   the Bodo outfit, NDFB.)
   After the incident, a big mob of nearly  a  thousand  people  of  the
   affected locality, armed with sticks, iron rods etc went on a rampage
   at  7:30  am  on  August  12 damaging shops, telephone booths (PCOs),
   other business establishments owned  by  Assamse-speaking  people  at
   Tangla  Chariali area, the main business centre of the town, adding a
   communal colour to  the  utterly  senseless  violence  of  the  night
   before.   Terror  gripped  the  entire town as people started running
   helter-skelter for safety to escape from the mob.  
   Unable to contain the violence, police fired three blank shots in the
   air to scare away the attackers.  A large group of people from  other
   localities  came in and helped the police to chase away the rampaging
   mob.  Police, CRPF and Army personnel were seen shuttling around with
   a magistrate  to  pacify  the  mob.      The   Deputy   Commissioner,
   Superintendent  of  Police  and an Army Brigadier came in after about
   three hours to pacify the people, and listened to the views  of  both
   the groups and peace restored for the time being.
   Congress  MP  and  former Union Minister Rajesh Pilot agreed to offer
   his services in resolving the Bodo and  ULFA  problems  plaguing  the
   State.  Addressing  a  press  meet in Guwahati on August 12, Mr Pilot
   stated that Assam Chief Minister, P.K.Mahanta met him  at  New  Delhi
   last  Monday  and  sought his help. `I am ready to be in the nation's
   service. But the State Government must maintain a transparent  policy
   and sincere attitude to resolve the problem', he said.
   Mr   Pilot  regretted  that  the  intelligence  service  had  totally
   collapsed, and because of that Guwahati had become  an  unsafe  city.
   `If this is the situation in Guwahati, what about the remote parts of
   the  State?  There  must  be  a  constructive  approach by taking all
   political parties into confidence.  Moreover,  the  State  Government
   must entrust some credible people for contacting the ULFA', he said.
   Living  under  the  shadow  of  insurgency  in real life, Assam await
   impatiently for the forthcoming release of Mani Ratnam's latest  film
   `Dil Se'  (From  the  heart)  to see its reflection on reel life.  As
   violence rocks Assam and other parts of Northeast, in the run  up  to
   the  15th  August  celebration,  Mani Ratnam's film on the insurgency
   problem in the Northeast, likely to be released soon, could not  have
   come at  a  better time.  Shahrukh Khan and Manisha Koirala takes the
   lead role in the film  set  in  the  backdrop  of  militancy  in  the

Compiled from newspaper and agency reports for private circulation only.
      [S=Sentinel, AT=Assam Tribune, Agencies = UNI, PTI, PIB]
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