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Kokrajhar killings act of cowardice: CM

By SPl Correspondent

NEW DELHI, Jan 18 � Describing the killing of innocent bus passengers in Kokrajhar yesterday as an act of cowardice, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today said the Assam Government has sought additional para-military forces from the Centre ahead of the Republic Day celebrations.

Talking exclusively to TV channels, the Chief Minister said that it was a normal practice for the militant groups to indulge in violence ahead of January 26. The forces that were deployed in the State were withdrawn before the Assembly polls in four States. �We have again asked for deployment of additional forces in view of the threats posed by the militant groups,� Gogoi said, adding that he spoke to the State DGP Khagen Sarma, who has joined his duties.

�The killings by the splinter Songbijit faction of NDFB are a cowardly act and I condemn it,� he said.

The Chief Minister, however, dismissed the criticism levelled by the opposition AGP and BJP about his government�s failure to control the internal security situation. �How can they criticise me. I have witnessed what the law-and-order situation was like during their reign in Assam. People were afraid of coming out of their homes at night,� he retorted, replying to questions.

Meanwhile, a delegation of 150 Congressmen from Assam including district presidents, AICC delegates, MLAs and MPs and ex-MPs called on Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi at the AICC headquarters here this afternoon. Both the Chief Minister and PCC president, Bhubaneswar Kalita were part of the delegation, though State Health Minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma was missing from the delegation, though he was in Delhi.

The meeting that lasted for about half-an-hour saw three delegates including Haren Das, M Roy and Nurzamal Sarkar address the meeting. Das claimed the Congress Party was ready to face election in Assam and was confident of winning 12 of the 14 seats. He also recounted the activities of the PCC in Assam.

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