Former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi claimed on Wednesday that the former Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led National Democratic Alliance government pressured him to continue with “secret killings” of militants.

Gogoi claimed that his predecessor, Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, who was the chief minister of Assam from 1996 to 2001, had authorised secret killings of United Liberation Front of Asom cadre, The Hindu reported. Vajpayee was prime minister from 1998 to 2004.

Gogoi, a Congress leader who was chief minister from 2001 to 2016, alleged that former Union Home Minister Lal Krishna Advani wanted to send former Punjab police chief KPS Gill to Assam as governor, to quell the insurgency. “We were pressured to continue with guptahoitya [extrajudicial or secret killings], but we did not do it,” he said. Gogoi claimed Advani’s plan did not materialise because of stiff resistance from his government.

Mahanta had earlier claimed that the Congress government in the state under former chief minister Hiteswar Saikia killed 860 people during the Assam agitation, a popular movement against undocumented immigrants between 1979 and 1985, The Sentinel reported. “If Mahanta feels that the Congress was responsible for the killing during the Assam agitation, what prevented him from ordering an inquiry when he came to power?” Gogoi asked.

BJP rejects charges

However, the Assam unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party rejected Gogoi’s claims. “He is trying to cover up for something the Congress was adept at,” Assam BJP chief Ranjeet Dass said. Dass said the saffron party has always favoured talks with ULFA.

Assam BJP General Secretary Dilip Saikia said: “We have always believed in the integrity of India but not at the cost of secret killings of innocent people. Why did he not order an inquiry on secret killings if he was honest? He is doing cheap, divisive politics.”