The elusive commander-in-chief of the banned United Liberation Front of Asom (Ulfa) Paresh Barua has termed as “baseless and motivated” media reports that Ulfa bought weapons from fundamentalist groups in Pakistan.
“Ulfa will never involve itself with religious fundamentalists,” said an e-mail sent to HT in Barua’s name.
The militant leader's mail is a departure in the sense that earlier the mails were sourced from Arunudoy Dohutia, who handles publicity matters for the anti-talk faction.
“There is nothing new in such malicious propaganda by the colonial rulers and they will continue to propagate it in future too,” the email stated, challenging anyone, including Indian intelligence agencies, to show proof of such involvement.
On August 7, 2011, HT had reported Ulfa chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa’s statement on how fundamentalist elements from within the Pakistani establishment had started supplying weapons to the group from 1990 onwards. Rajkhowa had also said how Ulfa’s secular political ideology took a hit because of this, and it led to a disconnect with the masses.
In 1979, Rajkhowa and a few of his colleagues formed the Ulfa at Ronghor in Sivasgar to start an armed rebellion for Assam’s independence. Ever since, the conflict has claimed the lives of over 12,000 people.
Barua, along with a few hundred of armed fighters, are holding out in camps along the Myanmar-China border, steadfast in his refusal to take part in the negotiation process.
Rajkhowa and several senior Ulfa leaders have expressed their keenness for a political solution and have already submitted a framework of guidelines, which will govern the agenda of the talks being pursued by the group and the Union government.