'Why mum on Assam riots, Mr President?'

Our 13th President Pranab Mukherjee received flak for his silence on the Assam riots in Saamna’s — the Shiv Sena mouthpiece — editorial yesterday.

“Twenty one firing tanks saluted the newly-elected president after he was sworn in. We hope that the sound of the tanks has not turned him deaf. He should listen to the cries of the people suffering during the Assam riots,” the editorial said. The Sena editorial has long been considered the voice of the party.

The same editorial also took pot shots at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who represents Assam in the Rajya Sabha. The editorial said that being the Prime Minister’s political homeground, Singh should have taken stringent action to stops the escalating riots. “Every one is quiet because of votebank politics,” the piece said.

According to the editorial, the Bangladeshi insurgents are the reason for the riots in Assam. The editorial compares the situation of Assam to Kashmir. It further claims that the Bangladeshis, who have crossed the border, are now driving out the Bodo, the original habitants of the area.

Sanjay Raut, the executive editor for Saamna and Sena’s Rajya Sabha member defended the editorial. “Our new president is a politically strong man and we were expecting him to take a stand on the Assam riots. But, we hope that he will take some action soon,” said Raut.

The Assam riots should not be treated as a small issue, according to Raut. “Action must be taken before Assam turns into another Kashmir, and the locals, just like the Kashmiri Pandits, are driven out of their homeland. Things should be controlled before they get out of hand,” said Raut.

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