SIVASAGAR, July 20 � The forum of the victims of terrorist attacks in Assam and their families � �Santrashbadir Dwara Nirjatito Porial Mancha, Asom� � formed on August 9 last year, held its first convention in Sivasagr Natya Mandir today.
The convention was addressed among others by Kanak Sen Deka, former president of Asam Sahitya Sabha and a noted journalist, Debabrat Saikia, MLA Nazira, Rupam Boruah and Ranen Goswami, two senior journalists and peace campaigners from Guwahati, Pranjal Saikia, noted film and theatre personality, Amrit Chetia and Dr JP Saikia.
Kanak Sen Deka, in his speech expressed the hope that the reign of terror and counter-terror that began from Ranghar Bakori in Sivasagar would come to a close here in the same place.
Ranen Goswami said that the ULFA never had a vision nor the guts to fight the Indian Army to wrest Independence for Assam, which had already achieved independence along with the rest of the country in 1947. The ULFA, he said, was a potent and lethal weapon in the hands of the then Bangladesh Government to destabilise Assam as is clearly shown by the Chittagong arms haul case which clearly implicates two former Bangladeshi Ministers and Intelligence Officers.
Rupam Boruah said that ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa leading the pro-talk faction now regrets the past misdeeds of the outfit and seeks pardon only because they are now a spent force and is trying hard to survive in a new environment, while Paresh Baruah is still making noises because he is on foreign soil. No one pays any heed to them anymore, he pointed out.
Debabrat Saikia, who lost three of his kin in hands of the ULFA, said with tearful eyes that the relatives of terror victims are the unsung and unrecognised heroes of Indian democracy. Bemoaning his and his family members� lack of freedom to move around without security personnel, Saikia hoped that peace, eluding the people of Assam for so long, would return as early as possible. He said that those who took to the gun culture surely did it for some ulterior motive, not liberation of the people.
Pranjal Saikia made a fervent appeal to the youths to make this beautiful State more beautiful by through creative arts rather than rootless gun culture.
Three children who had lost their fathers in the hands of the ULFA made heartrending speeches before the large gathering of family members of terror victims.
Dr Saumarjyoti Mahanta compered the programme. The convention, through a resolution, demanded exemplary punishment for the perpetrators of the killings and full government compensation to the victims� families and government jobs to at least one member of the families.