Former Assam chief minister and AGP (Asom Gana Parishad) President Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, though reluctant to get into the blame game (“it’s difficult to say or comment”), suggests dialogue is the only way to negotiate the minefield that is Assam today. He spoke to Uttam Sengupta. Excerpts:
How would you describe the situation in your state now?
A large number of people are still unwilling to go back to their villages. Most of the culprits are still at large and there are illegal arms with a large number of militant groups belonging to all communities. Unless they are reined in, peace will be elusive.
Would you say the violence was a case of ‘ethnic cleansing’?
I can’t say with certainty, but it is possible. The divide between the Bodos and the others has grown. In that area, Muslims constitute the majority of the population and, therefore, they have possibly suffered more. But Bodos are also victims and they’re...