ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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ASSAM- Death in Barpeta

ASSAM Death in Barpeta M S Prabhakar ON January 31, 1975, The Assam Tribune of Gauhati carried a .report on Its front page, under the heading 'Over 1,000 Die of Starvation in Barpeta'. According to the report, "Over 1000 people have died of starvation in Baghbor- Manida areas of Barpeta sub-division during the last six months and approximately another 5,000 will die in the coming months if proper steps are not taken. This was disclosed by Sri Jala- luddin Ahmed, MLA, and Sri Ali Akbar Khan, Councillor, Mahkuma Parishad yesterday at Barpeta." The report went ' on to give more specific details. Four days later, The Assam Tribune of February 4 carried a contradiction issued on February 2, by Jalaluddin Ahmed. "What I stated", the MLA said in his contradiction, "was that due to six successive floods of unprecedented nature visiting that area and the erosion caused by the Brahmaputra and its tributaries a large number of people have been rendered as destitutes. While appreciating the relief measures taken by the Government of Assam and the Government of India and help given by the sympathetic people of the country there is still need for continuing relief measures." When the news first appeared on January 31, the President: of India, who, before being elevated to his present position, represented these areas in the Parliament, was due to arrive at Gauhati on the following day; and the 'contradiction' issued by the MLA was widely interpreted as being issued 'under directions'; for, the report about many starvation deaths in an area which was, til) the other day, represented by Fak- ruddin Ali Ahmed, was considered too embarrassing for the President.

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