GUWAHATI, May 17: Pro-talk (ULFA) general secretary Anup Chetia on Thursday claimed that Parag Kumar Das was the editor-in-chief of the outfit’s mouthpiece ‘Swadhinata’. The responsibility of editor-in-chief of ‘Swadhinata’ was given to journalist Das by the central committee of the rebel outfit, Chetia said addressing a memorial meet organised by Manab Adhikar Sangram Samiti (MASS) at Guwahati Press Club in Guwahati on Thursday.
Chetia also claimed that the human rights organisation MASS was floated by ULFA in a meeting at Karbi Anglong district. MASS was founded in 1991 by Parag Kr Das along with a group of intellectuals and senior journalists including Ajit Kumar Bhuyan, he said.
Chetia’s comment triggered off controversies in social media. Journalist Monorom Gogoi, who was a close associate of late Das, in a Facebook post, said that such comments are part of larger conspiracy hatched by vested interest to malign the image of the late journalist. “Paragda never support killings and violence indulged by ULFA. He also criticised ULFA’s alienation from masses. So such claims are nothing but vague,” Gogoi said in his post.
The family members of Das, who were present at the meeting, are also reportedly miffed at the ‘outrageous’ statements of Chetia.
Das was assassinated in broad daylight by four surrendered ULFA rebels on May 17, 1996. The killing triggered massive public outrage in the state and the human rights circles of the country. However, all the accused were acquitted by the court as the investigation agency CBI had failed to submit any evidence against them.