Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday said that hundreds of youths were killed in agitations and movements in Assam on different issues and noted that development is the only way forward.

Addressing a rally at Amingaon in Kamrup district, Amit Shah said that BJP-led government at the Centre has given priority to Assam and the northeast in the past over six years and ensured that the benefits of every scheme reach the people in the state.

The BJP leader also referred to assembly polls next year and said that attempts will be made to misguide people in the “poll season”.

“In Assam, there was a period of movements. Many agitations were launched over different issues in which hundreds of youths were killed. The peace of Assam was disturbed and the development was halted,” he said.

“There was a time when separatists used to give arms in the hands of the youth in these states. Almost all armed groups have joined the mainstream and the startups launched by youth are competing with other startups globally. What is the way forward? Development is the only way forward. Development is happening and will happen further but ideological change is also needed and that can’t happen only through development,” he added.

Referring to the Bodo agreement signed earlier this year, he said the Modi government has initiated the process of establishing peace in Assam. “Bodo youths who had taken up arms have now joined the mainstream.”

The BJP leader said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has visited the Northeast 30 times in the last six years and dedicated development projects during his visits.

Invoking 16th-century saint Acharya Sankardev, Shah said, “Congress didn’t do anything for the birthplace of Acharya Sankardev whose contributions gave recognition to Assam’s history, drama writing, arts and poetry.”

“But BJP believes in strengthening of language, culture, arts of the states. BJP believes that India cannot achieve greatness until the culture and language of states are strengthened. India’s culture and arts are incomplete without Assamese culture and arts,” he added.

Shah also laid foundation stone for second medical college in Guwahati, law colleges and for ‘Batadrava Than’ at an event in Kamrup. Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal was present during the occasion.

The minister, who is on a three-day visit to the Northeast, reached Guwahati on Saturday morning. He was welcomed by folk artists outside Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport in Guwahati. (ANI)