Assam defies militants on Independence Day

Guwahati, Aug 15 (IANS) The people of Assam braved militant threats to gather in large numbers across the state to celebrate the country’s 69th Independence Day on Saturday.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi unfurled the national flag at the official venue for the celebrations at the Veterinary College ground in Khanapara area here.

The anti-talk faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom (Ulfa) and National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) had called for a boycott of the Independence Day functions and called a general shutdown on Saturday.

“When my government took oath in 2001, the condition of Assam was not very good,” Gogoi said, saying development work had halted, there were law and order problems and people felt insecure.

“People wanted a change and … we have been able to change the situation,” he said addressing a large gathering.

“In 2001, the deposits with the state government was only Rs.10,992 crore but this has gone to Rs.74,795 crore. Development is taking place now and peace has returned to the state.”

He said violence was one of the main bottlenecks for development in Assam when we took over.

“So we have decided to deal with the situation strictly. As a result negative feeling among the minds of people has been replaced by hope now.

“We have been talking to some of the militant outfits, and efforts are on to bring them back to the mainstream,” he said.

Highlighting the achievements of his government, Gogoi said he had laid stress on agriculture.

Gogoi mentioned the agreement between the NSCN-IM and the Indian government and said his government would oppose the deal if it affects the people of Assam adversely.

“We have also stressed on creation of employment and increasing per capita income,” he said, adding that only employment generation can solve the problems of the young.

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