GUWAHATI, Jan 2 � Public activist Prof Deven Dutta today said that rather than beating about the bush and repeatedly alleging the presence of Maoists in the anti-big dam movement, the Chief Minister and the government spokespersons would do well to identify and arrest the terrorist elements at the earliest.
Addressing a press conference, Prof Dutta said that the way the Government was handling the situation arising out of the anti-big dam stir and seeking to demean and trivialize what had essentially been a people's movement against genuine threats over their lives, property and livelihoods, it was only exposing its lack of respect for democratic protests.
�Let the Government with all its intelligence and police network identify and arrest the Maoists that it is repeatedly claiming to have infiltrated into the movement - something possible in such situations. But it should refrain from undermining a mass movement with a genuine cause,� Prof Dutta said.
Making it clear that he had differences with the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) and its general secretary Akhil Gogoi who is leading anti-big dam movement on several issues raised by the KMSS, Prof Dutta said that the Government was doing the wrong thing by taking an uncalled-for and authoritarian stand against the anti-big dam stir.
�What the Government is doing is dangerous for democracy. Should the people remain silent without any protest when the Government imposes something unjustifiable on them? Right to peaceful protest is integral to democracy, and the Government has no business to throttle it,� Prof Dutta said, and also appealed to Akhil Gogoi to be more restrained in his utterances.
Prof Dutta also ridiculed the Government's warning that 'none would be allowed to take the law in his hands', saying that the government machinery including the ministers and so-called VIPs had been among the biggest violators of the law in the State.
�The Chief Minister and his spokespersons have been making irresponsible statements, issuing threats, and indulging in deceit. This needs to be protested,� he said.
Questioning why the Government has not yet come forward for a dialogue with the agitators, Prof Dutta said that the same Government was going out of its way to have dialogues with terrorist outfits and according unwarranted and excessive hospitality to terrorist leaders like Joel Garlosa and Niranjan Hojai.
�If the Government can bend over backwards to accommodate terrorist outfits, why cannot it hold a talk with the agitating common people raising a life-and-death matter for them?� he asked.
Prof Dutta further demanded that the Government instituted inquiries into the serious allegations of terrorist-link of his ministerial colleagues, and into all the charges of corruption against them.