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Gen Next in Assam rejects gun culture
Sivasagar (Assam), Mar 8 (IANS)
Published on 8 Mar. 2010 11:51 PM IST
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Three college students skipped classes and mingled with a crowd Saturday to have a close look at Pradip Gogoi, vice chairman of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), in jail for over a decade and now out on bail. But they weren’t impressed. The separatist leader was released Thursday from the Guwahati Central Jail, ending 12 years of imprisonment. On Saturday he reached his hometown Sivasagar, 360 km east of Assam’s main city Guwahati. A rousing reception was given to the rebel leader at the ramparts of Rang Ghar, an amphitheatre of the Ahom royalty and the place where the ULFA was formed by Gogoi and six others April 7, 1979. Anup Gogoi, Arindam Das, Nilim Baruah, all undergraduate students of a college here, joined more than 2,000 people at Rang Ghar. A majority of them wanted to welcome Gogoi. “We came to see Pradip Gogoi but we don’t believe in ULFA’s ideology nor do we support their campaign,” said Baruah. His friend Anup was in agreement. “The younger generation Assamese is not interested in the gun culture of ULFA. It was sheer curiosity that brought us here,” Anup told IANS. The mood was loud and clear. Generation Next in Assam is not supportive of ULFA’s violent campaign that has claimed thousands of lives and wants to look ahead for a future of hope and progress. “What have we got from the long years of insurgency? We saw bloodbath and miseries. We want to see Assam grow and would like to compete with our brothers outside the state,” Arindam said, as he jumped onto a bicycle to attend his English major classes. More and more Assamese youth are looking for better career options, visibly tired of the continuing violence and lack of development, a result of the long drawn insurgency. “It is nice to see shopping malls and multiplexes coming up in almost all the cities and the yearning of the new generation to achieve something in life,” said Aprurba Handique, a college teacher. Said Bhabesh Baishya, a retired government official: “This is a good and healthy trend to see the new generation. It inculcates a competitive bent of mind and craving to do well in life.”

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