Guwahati: Assam Minister for Tea Tribes and Employment Sanjoy Kishan has been issued a show-cause by Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma for giving an apology to the banned outfit United Liberation Front of Assam – Independent (ULFA-I) on May 15.
The apology came after the banned outfit issued a statement threatening to boycott Sanjay Kishan after his comment on the outfit’s commander-in-chief Paresh Barua (Paresh Asom) on May 13 in Nagaon.
The incident had sparked a row as many have raised questions about the minister’s gesture.
While replying to reporters at a government event in Nagaon on May 13 about the recent activities of ULFA-I, the minister allegedly labelled Paresh Barua, the self-styled commander-in-chief of the banned outfit as a “liar”.
Reacting to the statement, the proscribed outfit had sent an email to the media, threatening to ban Kishan in Dibrugarh and in his home constituency Tinsukia, and demanded an unconditional apology within 24 hours.
The cabinet minister called a press conference on May 15 to apologise to the proscribed outfit ULFA-Independent, hours after the outfit issued the statement threatening to boycott him.
The minister extended the apology stating: “I was attending Gunutsov in a school in Nagaon district where a journalist suddenly asked me about Paresh Barua and the activities of ULFA-I. Being on a busy schedule, I never said anything which would have hurt Barua dangoriya. I just said that under the leadership of Hon’ble Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, if the youths of Assam work for the development of the state, I wanted to speak about their self-dependence and nothing else. If I have hurt Hon’ble Paresh Barua, I’m hurt too,” Sanjay Kishan said at the press conference and had immediately tendered an unconditional apology as demanded by the ULFA-I.
However, several people had expressed concern over it, terming it as a violation of the oath taken on the Constitution of India as an elected representative.
Naba Thakuria, former Secretary of Gauhati Press Club, a senior journalist and Convener of Patriotic People’s Forum of Assam demanded strict action against Sanjay Kishan for violating the constitutional oath.
“Chief Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma should take strict action against his cabinet minister Sanjay Kishan for apologising to a terrorist group banned by Ministry of Home Affairs, Government not India. He has violated the oath he took as a cabinet minister,” Thakuria said told EastMojo.
The Patriotic People’s Forum Assam, in a statement issued after execution of ULFA cadres recently, had expressed concern and disappointment on the role played by the local media in the state recently.
“The role of local news channels and vernacular media is very disappointing. They are giving an open platform to the terrorists and at times also glorifying the terror groups, particularly ULFA-Independent,” Thakuria said.
The Forum expressed satisfaction with the issuance of the showcase to the minister even after two weeks.
Meanwhile, social media is flooded with comments to drop him from the cabinet for not being able to uphold the constitutional oath of office. Civil society wants minister to resign from office on moral grounds and is of the opinion that this action of CM sends strong message to his cabinet colleagues that any minister can be questioned in public domain for works inviting disciplinary actions.
EastMojo tried calling Sanjay Kishan several times for his views but couldn’t be reached. It will be interesting to see what will be Kishan’s reply to the show-cause or will he be removed?
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