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IB strongly opposed 1983 elections in State

By R Dutta Choudhury
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GUWAHATI, Oct 7 - The Intelligence Bureau (IB) has always been pointing out the dangers faced by Assam due to illegal migration and the intelligence agency had strongly opposed holding of elections in the State by going against the wishes of majority of people in 1983. However, the then Government at the Centre decided to go ahead with the elections despite the opposition by the IB and the State witnessed widespread violence, while, the poll percentage was also very low.

A former IB official, ON Srivastava, in an article in the Commemorative volume of the Indian Police journal to mark the completion of 125 years of the IB, gave a detailed account of how the IB had opposed holding of the elections in Assam in 1983 at a time when the Assam movement was at its peak and the organizations spearheading the movement had strongly opposed the holding of the elections.

In the article, Srivastava wrote that the Directors of the IB were very blunt in expressing their views at any level. He revealed that in 1983, when the Assam agitation was on, an important meeting was held to discuss about the movement. The meeting was chaired by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. At that time, the State was under the President�s Rule and the meeting was attended among others by the then Governor of the State and the law and order adviser of the Governor, who was a seasoned bureaucrat.

The Governor and his adviser favoured holding of elections without any delay. They made it clear that holding of elections might lead to localized violence. The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) might have to be used for launching �lathi charge� wherever necessary. They claimed that 20 to 25 persons may die in the process but the agitators who had never seen a strong lathi charge would run away, Srivastava said in his article.

Giving details of the reaction by the then Director of the IB in the meeting, Srivastava revealed that the observations made by the Governor and his adviser were strongly opposed by the

Director of IB. �What are you saying? Our senior officers just the other day assessed the situation in detail. The violence will be widespread. So widespread that Assam administration will run out of policemen to reach everywhere. The number of casualties will run into hundreds,� the Director of the IB told the Prime Minister and the others present in the meeting.

But despite the strong warning of the chief of the IB, the Government went ahead with the elections in the State and it remained a dark chapter in the history of Assam as the State witnessed widespread violence.

As per the records available with the Election Commission, with majority of the people of Assam boycotting the polls, the voting percentage was only 32.74 per cent. The elections were held in 109 constituencies and the Congress came to power winning 91 seats, while among the other parties which participated in the polls, the CPI won one, CPM won two Indian National Congress (Socialist) won two seats, PTC won three while independents won 10 seats.

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IB strongly opposed 1983 elections in State

GUWAHATI, Oct 7 - The Intelligence Bureau (IB) has always been pointing out the dangers faced by Assam due to illegal migration and the intelligence agency had strongly opposed holding of elections in the State by going against the wishes of majority of people in 1983. However, the then Government at the Centre decided to go ahead with the elections despite the opposition by the IB and the State witnessed widespread violence, while, the poll percentage was also very low.

A former IB official, ON Srivastava, in an article in the Commemorative volume of the Indian Police journal to mark the completion of 125 years of the IB, gave a detailed account of how the IB had opposed holding of the elections in Assam in 1983 at a time when the Assam movement was at its peak and the organizations spearheading the movement had strongly opposed the holding of the elections.

In the article, Srivastava wrote that the Directors of the IB were very blunt in expressing their views at any level. He revealed that in 1983, when the Assam agitation was on, an important meeting was held to discuss about the movement. The meeting was chaired by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. At that time, the State was under the President�s Rule and the meeting was attended among others by the then Governor of the State and the law and order adviser of the Governor, who was a seasoned bureaucrat.

The Governor and his adviser favoured holding of elections without any delay. They made it clear that holding of elections might lead to localized violence. The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) might have to be used for launching �lathi charge� wherever necessary. They claimed that 20 to 25 persons may die in the process but the agitators who had never seen a strong lathi charge would run away, Srivastava said in his article.

Giving details of the reaction by the then Director of the IB in the meeting, Srivastava revealed that the observations made by the Governor and his adviser were strongly opposed by the

Director of IB. �What are you saying? Our senior officers just the other day assessed the situation in detail. The violence will be widespread. So widespread that Assam administration will run out of policemen to reach everywhere. The number of casualties will run into hundreds,� the Director of the IB told the Prime Minister and the others present in the meeting.

But despite the strong warning of the chief of the IB, the Government went ahead with the elections in the State and it remained a dark chapter in the history of Assam as the State witnessed widespread violence.

As per the records available with the Election Commission, with majority of the people of Assam boycotting the polls, the voting percentage was only 32.74 per cent. The elections were held in 109 constituencies and the Congress came to power winning 91 seats, while among the other parties which participated in the polls, the CPI won one, CPM won two Indian National Congress (Socialist) won two seats, PTC won three while independents won 10 seats.

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