Assam government ignored our warnings: Cong

Assam government ignored our warnings: Cong

Harish Rawat

The Congress on Monday charged that the BJP-led Assam government neglected its warnings about possible violence and a timely action could have avoided Thursday's killings of five Hindu Bengalis in Tinsukia district.

"Former chief minister Tarun Gogoi and our leader of the Opposition Debabrat Saikia warned the government that violence could take place as the atmosphere had charged up in the state regarding the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016," Harish Rawat, AICC general secretary and the party' in-charge of Assam, told reporters in Guwahati on Monday.

"We warned that the party's divisive policy was already having a serious repercussion in Assam and could take a violent turn. But the Sarbananda Sonowal government did not act on time and allowed the situation to deteriorate," he added.

Sonowal government is increasingly facing criticism after five people belonging to Bengali Hindu community were gunned down by unidentified persons at Bisonimukh Kherbari village in eastern Assam's Tinsukia district on Thursday evening.

Although Ulfa (Independent) was initially suspected, the outfit denied its role in the attack.

"Even after the attack, Sonowal has not clearly assured that similar incident will not happen again. Only the compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the victims' family is not enough and people expect more from the chief minister, assurance about safety and security," he said.

When asked if the Congress would raise the issue in the Parliament, Rawat said,"We are raising the issue in the state now, as the law and order is a state subject but if the state government fails to nab the culprits involved in the massacre, we will raise it in the Parliament and outside as well."

Most parts of Assam have seen strong protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 that seeks to offer citizenship to minorities such as Hindus, Christians, Jains, Buddhists and Parsis in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan, who had taken shelter in India due to “religious persecution.”

The groups representing indigenous communities in Assam are against the bill saying it would reduce them into minorities if the Bengali Hindu illegal migrants living in the state are given citizenship.

A public meeting in Guwahati on Sunday resolved to intensify the agitation against the bill, saying it was the BJP and RSS’s weapon to consolidate their Hindu vote bank, ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.