Even as the Congress party has brought back its poll-time favourite issue of alleged “secret killings” to campaign against the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and BJP, the pro-talk ULFA faction has asked all political parties not to make it an election issue.
“We appeal to all sides not to make secret killings an election issue. If they had some sincerity, they would have definitely identified those involved in the secret killings,” ULFA founder general secretary Anup Chetia, who has only recently returned from Bangladesh and was released from jail in December 2015, said.
The ULFA pro-talk faction which has been holding peace talks with the government of India also said that it would not play any role in the assembly election voting for which will be held on April 4 and 11. “We have no role in the elections. We are not supporting or opposing any party or candidate,” Chetia said.
Interestingly, while the Congress has been using the issue of “secret killings” as a campaign tool against the AGP since 2001, the ULFA pro-talk group has not included it in its charter of demands placed before the Centre.
It was only last week that Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi had revived his “secret killings” attack on the AGP and BJP, and said that the Saikia Commission had clearly indicated that the “secret killings” had taken place when the AGP was in power in Assam and the BJP at the Centre. The Congress government, which had handed over 20 cases of “secret killings” for probe by the Saikia Commission, however did not initiate any legal action on the basis of the Commission’s recommendations.
The Saikia Commission, in its report had not made any direct reference to any individual, but said that “there is enough evidence to show that the then Home Minister was at the helm of these extra-Constitutional killings.” Then chief minister Prafull Kumar Mahanta was then also the state home minister. Mahanta however continues to deny the charges.
Family members of more than 30 ULFA leaders were allegedly killed by unidentified assailants during the second tenure of the AGP government (1996-2001), with the Congress using these incidents of “secret killings” as a campaign against the regional party in the last three assembly elections.