Opposition asks Assam government to quit over killings

May 18th, 2008 - 7:55 pm ICT by admin  

Guwahati, May 18 (IANS) Opposition parties in Assam Sunday asked the Congress-led state government to resign over the killing of over 20 people in a tribal-dominated district and sought New Delhi’s intervention. A meeting of eight parties here reviewed the situation in the southern district of North Cachar Hills where a rag-tag rebel group, “Dima Halam Daogah” (Jewel Garlossa faction) or Black Widows went on a killing spree last week.

“The Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government has failed to fulfill its election promise of protecting the lives and property of the people. The government must resign and the (central government) should intervene in North Cachar Hills,” Brindabon Goswami, president of the main opposition Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), said.

The situation in the district deteriorated May 11 after Black Widow rebels killed eight railway construction workers and 11 other people, including a train driver, Thursday.

The rebel group was apparently retaliating for the May 10 killing of 12 of its cadres by the Indian Army.

The situation has taken an ugly turn due to apparent confusion in the government over the status of security operations against Black Widows in the wake of its March 25 offer of a unilateral ceasefire.

After stepping up violence in January and February, Black Widows had announced a unilateral truce, after which it did not indulge in largescale violence.

Tribal leaders who run the autonomous District Council in North Cachar Hills under the Constitution’s Sixth Schedule say the violence went up as the authorities failed to act on the group’s unilateral truce offer.

“The Black Widows did propose a unilateral truce. The job of the state government was to have acted on this and formalized the ceasefire before starting a dialogue. That did not happen, resulting in the army action and the subsequent retaliation by the rebels,” Depolal Hojai, Chief Executive Member of the District Council, told IANS.

Formed in 2003 after breaking away from the parent group, the Dima Halam Daogah, over differences over peace talks, the Black Widows, under the leadership of Jewel Garlossa, has been causing havoc in the district.

While the Black Widows is unleashing terror, the parent group, which has entered into a truce with the government, is getting restive over the delay in starting peace talks.

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