Govt decides legal action against Mahanta

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Guwahati, Nov 16 (UNI) The Assam government has decided to initiate legal action against former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta and others named in the Justice K N Saikia(corrected) Commission report, which investigated the extra judicial killings during his regime between 1998-2000.

Addressing a news conference here today, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said that a team of legal experts would soon be constituted to see how the Commission's recommendations could be brought to a logical end.

He, however, rejected Mr Mahanta's allegation that the report was politically motivated.

''There is no motive. I do not think anybody can influence former Supreme Court Judge K N Saikia. For the record, Mr Saikia was never a Congressman and fought election against us. The report once again amplified that nobody is above the law,'' he said.

According to the report, in the name of counter insurgency operation, the Police machinery used the surrendered ULFA for extra judicial killings targeting relatives and those close to the ULFA leaders and killed around 50 people during 1998-2001.

The issue rocked the state, threw the Mahanta led Assam Gana Parishad(AGP) out of power and brought in the Congress for two successive terms.

The report indicted Mr Mahanta as the then home minister, police hierachy as well as the army and the SULFA for the killings.

It also indicted the Union Home Ministry for "remotely orchestrating" the killings and in fact suggested that the Home Ministry created the Unified Command Structure of Assam counter insurgency operation and said it should be dismantled.

Mr Gogoi, however, said this could be dismantled only if the situation improved.

''At the moment the situation has not improved and the Unified Command structure is going to stay,'' he said.

The reported indicted four MLAs, including Mr Mahanta, and the chief minister said the legal team would decide how to move against them. The other indicted are Mr Nurul Hussain of AGP and two Independents--Jiten Gogoi and Kushal Duwari. The last one is an associate member of the Congress.

''It was the darkest period of Assam history. Such state-sponsored killing never took place anywhere in India and the Commission report once again proved that however mighty one is none can be spared,'' Mr Gogoi added.

Regarding the role of the police, he said ''if the master remains straight and strong the police will also behave in the same manner.

In my tenure no such thing has happened''.


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