Book detailing ’secret killings’ in Assam unveiled

March 26th, 2009 - 10:20 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 26 (IANS) Should the family of a thief be punished for a crime that he committed? Raising questions on the “extra-judicial killings” of family members of a militant group of Assam, “Secret Killings”, a compilation based on the reports of an enquiry commission, was released in the capital Thursday.
Compiled by three journalists who had written extensively on the issue when the matter was at its peak, between 1998 and 2001, the book however looks at only a select few cases, which could shock its readers.

Utpal Borpujari, one of the journalists who compiled the book, said: “The K.N. Saikia commission report on the secret killings of family members of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) says that these were extra judicial killings conducted by the state government using the surrendered ULFA members and security forces in the name of counter insurgency”.

“The commission took two years to produce three voluminous reports on 35 cases involving 50 deaths. The findings of the report have however not been fully implemented and the ruling Congress government has only been using this as a political weapon against the opposition during whose regime all this happened,” he added.

Pinpointing the culprits is however not the aim of this book, Borpujari says.

“The aim of this book is not to start the blame game. Eight years, four inquiry commission reports - including K.N. Saikia commission - and countless news reports later, any mention of these killings still gives a common Assamese the goosebumps.

“But outside Assam, hardly anyone knows about this. Our aim therefore is to tell the world that such a horrific crime took place in Assam between 1998 and 2001. Families of those victims still wait in hope that their sons, husbands or fathers who suddenly disappeared one night will return some day,” Borpujari said.

That the book release has been timed when the general elections are to be held is co-incidental, Borpujari maintained.

“But we are happy that even on this pretext the book will get enough attention,” he said.

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