Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Sunday appealed to all communities to maintain harmony, two days after several top pro-talks ULFA leaders threatened to take up arms after some former militants were allegedly thrashed by two Bengali traders.
“I am deeply saddened by the recent untoward incident that took place in Nagaon and I appeal to the people of the state to maintain peace and harmony in the face of provocation,” Sonowal said in a statement. On August 22, a group of former ULFA militants supposedly out to collect money for flood relief in Nagaon were allegedly confined and thrashed by two Bengali farm equipment dealers, Raju Das and Nidhan Das, who are brothers.
The issue took a communal colour when comrades of the former militants termed it an assault on the indigenous people of Assam by “non-Assamese outsiders”, whose clout, they alleged, had increased after the BJP came to power in the state.
Although the police arrested six persons for allegedly assaulting the former militants, former ULFA members, including pro-talks faction chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa, reached Nagaon on Friday. Rajkhowa said: “If such attacks on indigenous people continue, then there will be bloodshed…. Do not compel us to take out our guns. We will not tolerate the dominance of non-Assamese people in Assam.”