ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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ASSAM-AGP Upstaged

are compelling a more circumspect approach. Israel meanwhile has much to be pleased about. It can commence once again its offensive attitude in the region without too many unpleasant questions being raised. More importantly it is a pleasing diversion from its own suppression of the intifada and its refusal to come to the negotiating table which have drawn critical attention to it. Nor has it been slow off the mark. Saddam Hussein has been invidiously compared with Hitler and the invasion has been used as a pretext not to go ahead with the proposed cut in defence expenditure ASSAM AGP Upstaged THE resolution of the hostage crisis in Assam, the longest of its kind in India with the hostages being held for 14 days, marks a qualitative shift in the political situation in the state. The hostages, Hare Krishna Das, the general manager of the public sector Guwahati refinery, his college-going son Amarnath Lal Das and the driver of his official vehicle, Anup Duara, were spirited away from the refinery campus at Noonmati on the morning of July 16 by activists of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA). They were released a fortnight later on the afternoon of July 29, after the government of Assam conceded, in substance if not in form, the demand of ULFA for the 'unconditional release' of three of its own activists, Hirak Jyoti Mahanta, Anadar Thakuria and Bipul Rabha, held in Guwahati and Goalpara jails under the provisions of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA). The final hours of the drama were accompanied by a tragedy and a farce: the killing by ULFA militants, almost at the very moment the hostages were being dropped at a point not far from where they had been picked up, of the superintendent of police of Dibrugarh district Daulat Singh Negi, his personal security officer Jairam Das and the driver of his car Nirmal Neog, near Lahohal, about 400 kilometres away from Guwahati; and the resignation of Assam's home minister, Bhrigu Kumar Phukan, owning 'moral responsibility' for the killing of the police officials within hours of that killing, and the withdrawal of that resignation after a week on August 5.

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