27 September, 2020

More Season's Greetings

As militants pile up a body count of 45 in the year's first fortnight, Mahanta gets no respite

More Season's Greetings
For Assam chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, 1997 was a nightmare. But if he had hoped that the new year would bring good tidings, he has been sadly mistaken. The threat of being chargesheeted in the infamous Letter of Credit (LOC) scam still hangs over his head, although the Central Bureau of Investigation is said to have dropped the most serious of charges against him—that of having taken cash from the prime accused in the case, Rajen Bora—for lack of evidence.

But even if Mahanta comes out unscathed in the LOC scandal, the militants do not seem to be giving any respite to the chief minister. Consider this: in the first fortnight of 1998, at least 45 people were killed by different militant organisations; a Northeast Frontier railway engineer and son of a Hindustan Lever executive were kidnapped. During the same period, at least 12 militants have been killed and several others arrested. The cycle of violence appears unending in the state and with elections less than a month away, Assam is sitting on a powder keg.

In fact, even as most people were...



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