Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Assam: A thumping NO to the US

[Senior Indian officials Tuesday expressed surprise at a US offer made directly to Assam and Nagaland governments in northeastern India to assist in combating a renewed spurt in terrorism in the region."Involving FBI should be outrightly rejected. It is totally unacceptable", CPI National Secretary D Raja said....Questioning US Ambassador to India David C Mulford writing to Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, he said this was a "kind of interference. How can the Ambassador write to the Chief Minister"."We have enough resources and adequate capacities to deal the situation. How can he (Mulford) offer help to a chief minister?" ]

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CPI terms US offer to help probe Assam blasts interference :

Assam, India > New Delhi, Oct 5 : CPI today reacted strongly to the US offer to provide FBI help in investigating the recent incidents of bomb blasts in Assam, saying this amounted to "interference" which should be outrightly rejected.

"Involving FBI should be outrightly rejected. It is totally unacceptable", CPI National Secretary D Raja said.

Questioning US Ambassador to India David C Mulford writing to Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, he said this was a "kind of interference. How can the Ambassador write to the Chief Minister".

Charging the state government with failing to protect the lives and properties of the people, Raja said the Centre should take the people and political parties into confidence and convene a meeting of political parties to resolve the emerging crisis.

Addressing a press conference in Guwahati, Gogoi said he had received a letter written by the US envoy offering FBI help for investigating the blasts.PTI

PTI 05/10/04

2. Communists slam US offer to battle terrorism :

India News > New Delhi, Oct 5 : Indian leftists Tuesday slammed a US offer of assistance to violence-hit Assam to counter separatist insurgency.

The Left parties criticised US Ambassador David C. Mulford for writing a letter to Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi offering his country's assistance to help the Indian security agencies battle terrorism in the northeast.

"He has no right to write to a chief minister offering his country's assistance," fumed S. Ramachandra Pillai, a senior leader of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).

"We have enough resources and adequate capacities to deal the situation. How can he (Mulford) offer help to a chief minister?" asked Pillai.

Pillai's CPI-M heads the Left front propping up the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in New Delhi.

His fellow comrade, D. Raja of the Communist Party of India (CPI), went further, condemning Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi's statement welcoming the US offer.

Gogoi Tuesday said he would seek the external affairs ministry's permission to bring in experts from the US to help the state security agencies.

"Its not proper for him to make such a statement seeking permission for bringing in foreign experts to deal an internal security issue," Raja said.

He said the state government had failed in its duty "to protect the lives and property of its citizens.

"They (the state government) failed to foresee such incidents. What were its intelligence agencies doing? And now they want outsiders to find the culprits" Raja asked.

There has been a spurt in insurgency-linked violence in Assam that killed 42 people over the weekend.

Mulford has offered the US expertise in investigative techniques in areas such as forensic analysis of explosive resides.

"Should you find it helpful, the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) would be pleased to provide technical support for your investigation," the envoy said in the letter to the chief minister.

The US ambassador had made the same offer to Home Minister Shivraj Patil to help Assam fight terrorism.

Sixty-nine people were killed in India's northeast in recent days in a series of bomb blasts, shootings and other incidents.

Some 50,000 people have lost their lives to insurgency in the northeast since India's independence in 1947.

Indo-Asian News Service 06/10/2004


3. Indian officials surprised by US offer to Assam

India News > New Delhi, Oct 5 : Senior Indian officials Tuesday expressed surprise at a US offer made directly to Assam and Nagaland governments in northeastern India to assist in combating a renewed spurt in terrorism in the region.

Shortly after Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi announced that he had received a letter from US envoy David C. Mulford offering help to investigate terrorist attacks since the weekend, the US embassy here confirmed the offer.

"We are prepared, if requested, to facilitate the appropriate assistance of the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) to aid in the criminal investigation by Indian authorities so that the perpetrators can be identified and brought to justice," an embassy spokesperson said in a statement.

A senior Indian official told IANS: "We (India and US) have an understanding to assist each other in dealing with terrorism, but I don't know if (this) is the best way to go about it."

He pointed out that such offers were generally made through the home or external affairs ministries.

Another official said the US had shown a singular lack of understanding of India's politics.

The embassy strongly condemned the violence in the two states that has claimed at least 69 lives since Saturday and offered condolences to the victims and their families.

The spokesman said Mulford had sent separate letters to the chief ministers of Assam and Nagaland offering FBI assistance in the investigations.

Indian officials noted that the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had only just got over a crisis caused by the Leftist opposition to the Planning Commission's decision to have foreign consultants on its panels.

The communists, whose outside support is crucial for the survival of the government, has already strongly condemned the US envoy for writing directly to the chief ministers of Assam and Nagaland.

"He has no right to write to a chief minister offering his country's assistance," fumed S. Ramachandra Pillai, a senior leader of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).

"We have enough resources and adequate capacities to deal the situation. How can he (Mulford) offer help to a chief minister?" asked Pillai.

The US embassy confirmed Mulford's letter after the Assam chief minister went public with it and even said that his government would seek help from the US to stop the spurt in violence.

"We would be seeking the permission of the ministry of external affairs to bring in experts from the US to help our security agencies in battling a rise in terrorist strikes," Gogoi told reporters in Gauhati.

In his letter, Mulford said: "The US has considerable expertise in investigative techniques in areas such as forensic analysis of explosive residues.

"Should you find it helpful, the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) would be pleased to provide technical support for your investigation."

Gogoi said militants in recent days had been using "very sophisticated" explosives, which the various security agencies were unable to detect with their existing gadgets.

"We definitely need help to battle insurgency, and I am hopeful New Delhi would give us the nod for enlisting the help of the US experts," he said.

"We would see to it that national security is not compromised in our efforts at roping in foreign experts in countering militancy."

More than 50,000 people have lost their lives to insurgency in India's northeast since India's independence in 1947.

Indo-Asian News Service 05/10/2004