The ghosts of the past are once again rearing their ugly head to haunt Assam chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta. The spate of killings unleashed by ulfa in the state in November are a grim reminder of what transpired exactly a decade ago when his government was dismissed by the Centre barely a month before it completed its five-year tenure. That was 1990 when Assam was crippled by an ugly wave of lawlessness and violence, which prompted the Centre to launch an army operation and impose President’s rule in the state.
Now, 10 years down the line, the killing of at least 70 people in the state in the last one month, most of them Hindi-speaking Marwaris and Biharis, by suspected ulfa militants, has spread a similar wave of terror, prompting Union home minister L.K. Advani to summon governor Lt Gen (retd) S.K. Sinha and Mahanta to Delhi to review the situation. But before Advani met the duo, he dispatched G.K. Pillai, the joint secretary in charge of the northeast in his ministry, for discussions with the think-tanks at the unified command structure currently operational in Assam and evolve a fresh strategy to counter the latest militant offensive.