Gangs Rule Again In Upper AssamIt started with the gruesome murder of six Bengali-speaking people in Tinsukia district of Assam. Now it has escalated into a full scale operation. The Ulfa, Sulfa (the so-called 'surrendered' Ulfa) and other assorted groups are back in business. New recruitments to these banned outfits are on the rise. Mashal (torchlight) rallies and other muscle-flexing events are conducted frequently. They are spreading a reign of terror designed to make the business community loosen their purse strings through fear.
By A Special Correspondent
In quick succession this week, first the manager of Timonhabi Tea Estate in Sonari was kidnapped, then a businessman from Lanka was asked to pay Rs 30 lakhs or face the consequences and finally, a grenade blast was triggered in a shop at Demow in Sibsagar district of the state. There is still no news of the kidnapped manager while the person who made the threat call in Lanka has been arrested by the police as the businessman had the courage to report the incident. The blast in Demow killed a customer and the brother of the shop owner.
It seems that Assam is moving back in time. The current incidents bring back the chilling situation witnessed in the eighties and nineties when abductions, murders and ransom demands were the order of the day. It also seems that change of government has no effect on these bands of marauders whose basic aim is to collect as much money before the government crackdown.
The business community in upper Assam is confused and dismayed that the government is not taking any steps to nip the problem in the bud. They say that once these gangs smell the scent of money, it will be very difficult to contain them. Easy money attracts unemployed youth in droves and newer gangs sprout every day. These gangs adopt newer strategies to milk the largely non-Assamese business community. The police have to be proactive in taking steps against these gangs. But for this to happen, the business community needs to shed its fear and report even the smallest of incidents.