Guwahati, Oct 30 (IANS) Assam Tuesday observed the fourth anniversary of the devastating serial blasts that killed 90 civilians and injured over 300 across four districts in the state.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi unveiled a Martyrs' Memorial Altar below the Ganeshguri flyover here.
Paying homage to the victims, Gogoi said: "It was a black day in the annals of the state as 90 innocent lives were snuffed out by the heinous acts of extremists."
On Oct 30, 2008, nine serial blasts rocked Guwahati, Barpeta Road, Bongaigaon and Kokrajhar within 20 minutes killing over 60 instantly. Some of the seriously injured died in the hospitals.
While three explosions in Guwahati ripped through Pan Bazar, Fancy Bazar and Ganeshguri, which were crowded with shoppers, another three blasts rocked Kokrajhar town. Another blast took place in Bongaigaon and two on Barpeta Road - the commercial hub of Barpeta district.
"Today there is a marked change in the law and order situation in the state," Gogoi said. "From 200 killed due to extremist violence, the death toll has come down to 29."
He added that no civilian had died due to extremist violence in the past three years in Guwahati.
Gogoi said the turnaround was made possible because of people's support to the government's peace efforts.
"Extremism is on the wane. The support bases of the extremist outfits have eroded," he said, and asked militant outfits who have not yet eschewed violence to return to the mainstream.
"Violence has no place in our polity. Violence does not lead to solution of any problem; it brings in misery and hardships, and pushes society into the abyss of darkness.
"It is against this backdrop that those who have not given up arms must realize the futility of violence and return to the mainstream in the interest of society at large," Gogoi said.
The chief minister warned that the government would deal firmly with an iron hand forces threatening Assam's social fabric.
"Our message is loud and clear: If you abjure violence, we will embrace you. If you don't, you have to face the music," he said.