January 16, 2007
Dibrugarh, Assam

PM's opening remarks at Press Conference in Dibrugarh

"I feel sad that there have been a series of senseless killings of a large number of innocent people in some parts of the state of Assam a few days ago. More than 60 individuals have been killed and many have suffered injuries.

The killings were done in a cold blooded and brutal manner and the victims were simple, law abiding people who earned a daily living by selling their labour for a variety of small tasks. Many of them were people who came in from other parts of the country, including Bihar, to contribute and also to benefit from the local economy.

My heart goes out to the families of those who have been victims of these incidents. Many have lost their breadwinners while many more live in fear of terror that may strike once again in future.


These acts of terror are the work of ULFA, its associated outfits and its cadres. These shameless and gruesome acts have been condemned by one and all.

The message I have for the people of Assam is that the Government of India is firm in its resolve to work with the people and the State Government to ensure that terrorist groups do not succeed in their nefarious designs. There will be no compromise with these groups if they resort to violence.


At the same time, I would like to reiterate that the doors for dialogue are open to all disaffected groups - including ULFA - who are willing to abjure violence.

It is with this in mind that we began an initiative to have talks with ULFA. We sent feelers to them and engaged in discussions with concerned citizens in the People's Consultative Group (PCG).

For a while, we thought that we were making some progress. We had three rounds of discussions. We created an atmosphere conducive to talks.

However, when it came to direct talks with ULFA, things came to a standstill. Instead of making headway, a mindless cycle of violence has restarted. Innocent people are being killed as in the last few days.

I am aware that there is a very large constituency for peace. Delegations from all shades of political opinion have met me in Delhi and have asked for establishment of peace in Assam. Surveys are repeatedly showing that there is absolutely no support in Assam for acts of violence and terror. There is a surge of anti-ULFA sentiment. People want to get on with their lives and improve their lot rather than be victims of fear and terror.

I would like to make it clear that there is no room for violence and it will not be tolerated. I appeal to all sections of society to forego violence as a means to resolve problems.

At the same time, I will also emphasise that all problems can be sorted out through dialogue.

The government has a duty to protect the lives of its law abiding citizens, particularly those who are vulnerable. This is a solemn responsibility which we will discharge. We will ensure the safety of our citizens using all the resources at our command.


It is sad that so many lives have been lost. These lives are irreplaceable.

The State Government is providing Rs 3 lakhs as assistance to the kin of those who have been killed. We will give an additional Rs 2 lakhs from the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund.

Free medical treatment is being provided to those injured and financial assistance of Rs.50,000 and Rs.10,000 each is being provided to those who have grievous injuries and minor injuries respectively.

I am told that over 35 relief camps are in operation. Hopefully, as things normalize, people will go back to their places of work, feeling more secure.

On the security front, an additional 30 Companies of Central Paramilitary Forces have been provided to help the state government in its security measures. An Army Brigade Headquarters has been shifted into Upper Assam from outside the state.

Counter Insurgency operations, patrolling and combing have been intensified. The Chief Minister is now chairing meetings of the Unified Command to monitor and supervise security measures.

The state is trying to create a sense of security among all people, including Hindi speaking people and we will support them with the necessary resources. I appeal to all sections of society not to succumb to fear and leave their places of livelihood. We are working for improving their safety and security.

I will once again reiterate that no one should mistake our openness for talks and dialogue as a sign of weakness. The Indian State has an obligation to provide security and protect the lives of its law abiding citizens. This we will discharge, Let there be no doubt on that score.

At the same time, the Indian State can accommodate a diversity of opinion and provides scope for meeting a wide range of needs and aspirations and allowing many cultures and identities to exist. I am sure that if we persist with the process of dialogue, a solution can certainly be found in Assam today just as it has been found for many other groups and entities."