It has been exactly a decade and a half today. Fifteen long tearful years to a mother, a brother, wife, two children, and other family members who have been denied justice because their beloved son, brother, husband, or father was the truest lover of his motherland. Every one of us knows why justice to Parag Kumar Das killing is denied. The answer is so simple, – how can a murderer provide justice for the murder he has committed? The Indian state machine, responsible for the killing of this man can never give us justice anyway. He said, ‘Indian State Machine cannot give you Justice if you are a common man and he proved it. His death is proving the same every year. Indeed, the Indian State Machine is proving its enemy’s speech by injustice.
The Man, the Revolution
If there was ever a man from Assam, brave enough to stand up on his own and fight an entire state machine of India with his radical, revolutionary, and alternative political thoughts, it was Late Parag Kumar Das. In spite of having a flourishing job as a General Manager of Guwahati Stock Exchange at a very young age, Parag Kumar Das had chased his dream of a better Assam more than any personal goals, an example almost all of our youth now lacks in real life. Hardship and struggle due to his love for Mother Assam was always his ally, with the Indian State Machine being constantly ready to punish him for his courage and truthfulness. Right from the days when he started the radical Assamese weekly Boodhbar (1989), the Indian Government tried to oppress him time and again. His columns in Boodhbar were banned and the same was the fate of many of his write-ups in his fortnightly journal, Agaan in 1994.
Parag Kumar Das was one of the first to oppose the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) by challenging the constitutional validity of the act in the Supreme Court in 1994. Though the Indian State, as it behaves till date, did not even give a thought towards calling off the AFSPA, Parag Kumar Das was unmoved. He continued drumming up huge public support both from locals as well as International Human Rights Organizations like Amnesty International against this draconian law, threatening the Indian State machine.
The hardships faced by Parag Kumar Das were immense. He was repeatedly tortured because he tried to claim the constitutional right of Freedom of Speech. His thundering writings against the system, corruption, and foiled politics shook the Indian rulers with their reigns on Assam getting loose day by day with public sidelining with the truthful Parag Das. The Government tried to tame him by all means. In January 1992, he along with Ajit Bhuyan was arrested under provisions of the National Security Act, and in 1993, he was arrested under provisions of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA)! In January 1994, copies of one of his most bold books, Swadhinatar Prastab (Proposal of Independence), which proposed the secession of Assam from the Union of India, were confiscated from his residence by the state forces. He was put in jail for his writings, the last one being in 1996 when the Government took the opportunity to put him behind bars based on a write-up he wrote in Assamese daily Asomiya Pratidin.
To kill and destroy the man who was constantly challenging the Indian State Machine and was being followed as a true leader by almost all sections of the public in Assam, was naturally the only option left for his enemies.
We the hypocrites, killers
Yes, we all like to blame the Indian Law, better still Indian politics for safeguarding the four SULFA men charged and later cleared off, with the murder case of Parag Kumar Das. A few of us even like to go one step ahead and whisper in each other’s ear saying ‘Parag Kumar Das must have been definitely killed by the Indian Government for fear of a democratic public outcry for Sovereign Assam’.
Whatever the truth behind Parag Kumar Das assassination be, whether is the Indian State Machine or the RAW or some petty SULFA men who were responsible, the reality that bites is that the ones truly responsible for the actual death of Parag Kumar Das is we, the people of Assam, especially the youth. We have done nothing either to uprise the killers whom we all know or at least to follow the principles that he laid down for all generations to follow.
The youth of today hardly knows about Parag Kumar Das. Ask any youth passing out of a Don Bosco or St. Mary’s and at best a mere 10% of them would be able to say that Parag Das was ‘some good journalist’. Internet-savvy youth of today, a majority of us blessed with an opportunity to get educational certificates from degree mills outside Assam in metros like showing off our little knowledge of Che or discussing how meaningful the songs of Kurt Cobain was. But how much do we know about the treasures that people like Parag Kumar Das had carved for the future generations of Assam with great pain? His hard toiled gifts to the Assamese, books like Sanglat Fenla (Freedom Fighter), Swadhinatar Prostab (Proposal of independence), Nisiddha Kalam Aru Anyanya (Banned Pen and others), Aami Ji Kotha Koisilo (Things We Said), Rashtradrohir Dinlipi (Diary of Anti-State), Mok Swadhinata Lage (I Need Freedom) and Swadhin Oxomor Arthaniti (Economy of Independent Assam) are getting buried under the dust of ignorance. None of the future generations would probably ever hear about them and continue to grow up with chants of ‘I love my India’ and ‘Jai Hind’, without knowing about the lessons one man had tried to teach their forefathers and all coming generations,- the lesson of self-independence and the dream of Freedom and Right.
Parag Kumar Das did not die when thirteen bullets fired from AK 47 assault rifles entered his body, nor did he die again when the accused were free by the Indian Judiciary. On the contrary, he has been dying a thousand deaths regularly with the continual downfall of the Assamese Society and Nationalism. A motherland that he dreamt and strived to bring peace and freedom for, now sees its own end with its own sons enjoying its destruction.