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Assam’s terror victims demand justice

Guwahati, June 29 (Calcutta Tube) Daisy Kalita is seething with anger and wants the harshest punishment for militants and leaders of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), almost begging that her husband’s killers should not go scot free.

‘I don’t think they (ULFA) could be pardoned and should face severe punishment. Let the government not hurt our feelings by letting them go out without any punishment,’ Daisy said as tears welled up in her eyes.

Daisy lost her husband Ajoy Kalita, a businessman, in March 2002 – he was shot dead by ULFA militants close their home in village Sarupeta in Barpeta district of western Assam.

‘My son was just five years old when my husband was killed by them,’ Daisy told IANS.

Manjubala Das of village Sorbhog in Barpeta district is equally distraught with the ULFA. Her husband Manik Das, a police constable, was shot dead in 2003 while on duty.

‘I want justice and want the ULFA leaders to be punished so that we get some peace of mind,’ said Manjubala.

About 15 families who lost their near ones to the ULFA in recent years met in Guwahati Monday and urged the government to deal with the jailed rebel leaders as per law – a clear reminder that they should not be let out of prison without trial.

The appeal comes at a time when there is talk of jailed ULFA leaders being released for furthering the political negotiations with New Delhi.

‘We are not opposed to ULFA holding peace talks with the government. All we want is that their leaders should not go unpunished,’ said Brojen Hazarika.

Brojen’s younger brother Kumud was taken hostage by ULFA militants and killed by chopping off his limbs and gouging his eyes before burying him in a pit in village Bihpuria in Lakhimpur district.

Barring ULFA’s elusive commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah, the entire top brass of the outfit is in jail. The imprisoned leaders include chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa, deputy commander-in-chief Raju Baruah, self-styled foreign secretary Sasha Choudhury, finance secretary Chitrabon Hazarika, cultural secretary Pranati Deka, and ULFA political ideologue Bhimkanta Buragohain.

Two other leaders – ULFA vice chairman Pradip Gogoi and publicity chief Mithinga Daimary – are out on bail and currently engaged in drumming up public support for opening peace talks.

(Zarir Hussain can be contacted at zarir.h@ians.in)

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