Guwahati Citizens Meet to Discuss Terrorism


Terrorists Have No Caste Or Religion

Terrorism is the greatest threat to democracy and humanity. And the terrorists can not have any caste and religion. To deal with both home-grown and international terrorism, a combined effort of political will and public support is needed. The speakers in a Citizen’s Meet at Guwahati Press Club on November 5 came out with this discourse and conclusions. Organized by the Journalists’ Forum, Assam in Northeast India, the meeting also insisted that the authorities must take responsibility to deal with terrorism and finally ensure the security of the people.

Citizens Meet in progress at Guwahati Press Club
Citizens Meet in progress at Guwahati Press Club

Addressing the gathering, presided over by the JFA president Rupam Baruah, a noted Assamese author, Nirupama Borgohain commented that the government must be responsible for its non-performance and failure. The government has the legitimate power and responsibility to serve the country and provide security to its citizen, said the Sahitya Academy award winner litterateur. Talking about the United States of America, which has effectively dealt with terrorism after the September 11, 2001 attack, Ms Borgohain raised the vital question, why India can’t do that.

DN Chakrabarty, the former editor of Dainik Asom, a Guwahati based Assamese daily, expressed anger on the utter failure of the authority’s disaster management at the time of the terrorist attack in Assam on October 30, that killed over 80 and wounded nearly 400 people. The government of Assam has finally admitted that elements from a foreign country (read Bangladesh) were involved in the heinous crime. Terming the terrorists as the enemy of Assam (India), Chakrabarty criticized the State government, led by Tarun Gogoi, for his callous attitude towards the crisis.

Citizens’ Meet in progress at Guwahati Press Club

He appreciated the people of Assam for exercising their patience during the crisis. Chakrabarty also applauded the role of media, both the print and visual, for their restrained role while covering the violence. At the same time he appealed to the media for a comprehensive study and documentation of all the terror attacks in the country.

Talking about the threat of terrorism, Prof Abdul Mannan reiterated that terrorism never supports democracy and humanity. He also agreed that terrorism had largely emerged as a threat to Assam (India). Prof Mannan at the same time argued that terrorism must be dealt with strong hands. He emphasized the need for political will, where the party leaders would unite without mudslinging for the cause.

Citizens’ Meet in progress at Guwahati Press Club

Bhadrakrishna Goswami, a prominent socio-cultural leader declared that terrorism simply destroys humanity. Remembering the terror of the Assam serial blasts, Goswami appealed to all democratic forces to unite to fight the menace. The leader of anti-terror group, APW, Abhijit Sharma commented that Jehadi elements had joined hands with the United Liberation Front of Asom under the guidance of ISI for continuing disruptive activities in India. He asserted that ULFA was involved in the Assam blasts as a supportive force, if not as the mastermind.

Amidst the crisis of Islamist terrorism, Munin Bayan, a senor journalist, analyzed how the ambience has created lot of confusion among the people in general and media persons in particular. He described his belief that Islam never allows such acts of terrorism. Anjali Daimary, a social activist emphasized creating strong public opinion against the failure of the administration.

Citizens’ Meet in progress at Guwahati Press Club

The meeting in one of its resolutions, called upon the Government to speak in one voice about who are the culprits behind the October 30 blasts and the Darrang-Udalguri clashes instead of sowing suspicions and mutual distrust among various sections in society. It also asked the authority to identify the culprits after a speedy probe, make the results public and mete out exemplary punishment to them.

“The helplessness of the Government and the confusing role played by the opposition parties has not only eroded the confidence of the people, but also diminished their faith in the political system, the citizens pointed out and urged the political parties to rise above petty politics of power and join hands together on issues of terrorism and threat to the nation’s security,” added in the resolution.

In another resolution, it analyzed, “Since illegal foreigners issue is at the root of many a problem in Assam, the Central and State Governments must take steps to seal the international border, prepare a National Register of Citizens and detect and deport foreigners. The citizens also urged the Government to raise the issue of terrorism and illegal migration in various international forums to create pressure on the neighbouring countries responsible for exporting troubles to the State.”

Citizens’ Meet in progress at Guwahati Press Club

Assam became a place of protest and demonstrations in the aftermath of the serial blasts. Civil society and advocacy groups have already taken various agitational programmes to condemn the incident. If one group organized public meetings, the other went on with candle light processions in Guwahati and other places of Assam. If a section preferred for the street corner prayers, other went for rigorous and comprehensive discussion on the terror issue.

The Northeast is no stranger to terror attacks, but the latest serial blasts in Assam had shaken the psyche of the people. For the first time, they feel helpless and totally insecure. The dance of death gripped the ambience and the citizens went on a self imposed curfew for many hours. After the historic Assam agitation, Guwahati city was deserted for the first time. Closed shops, no vehicles with crowds on the roads and an unbelievable silence grabbed the ambience of the city.

Shockingly, the explosions took place in the high security and crowded areas of Guwahati including the front of DC court, Kachari (where in fact two deputy commissioners of Kamrup district and Kamrup-Metro sit; and also adjacent to Chief Judicial Magistrate court, Guwahati).

Citizens’ Meet in progress at Guwahati Press Club

Similarly the location of Pan Bazar, where another bomb exploded is very near to Pan Bazar police station. This is also a crowded market place. The third one exploded in the busy Ganeshguri area. This place is near to the high security Secretariat and Legislative Assembly building and also a market place. Three another blasts took place in Kokrajhar, two in Barpeta and one in Bongaigaon district in lower Assam. Significantly, all the explosions took place within a few minutes after 11.15 a.m.

Others who were present and spoke at the citizens’ meet included GS Kalita, Benu Barua, Hiten Mahanta, Alaka Buragohain, S. Tahbilder, Jahnavi Goswami, Ranen Kumar Goswami, Sabita Lahkar, Sumitra Hazarika, Pramod Chandra Bhattacharya, Mitradev Sharma, Kishore Giri, Ranjan Baurah, Dhanjit Kakoti, Jawarlal Saha, Manoranjana Gupta, SN Rahman, Biman Hazarika, Dipen Bayan etc. Before the meeting started, a one minute silence was observed by the participants for those killed in the terror attacks.

Nava Thakuria is a Guwahati (Northeast India) based journalist, who contributes to NewsBlaze and various media outlets throughout the world.