How do you get back at a violent husband? In Assam, you apparently join the United Liberation Front of Asom (Ulfa).
An ideology of a different kind – fighting abortionists rather than ‘colonial India’, the Ulfa’s enemy number one – made Rina Bala Roy of Dobragaon village in western Assam’s Kokrajhar district leave home to join the outlawed outfit.
“I am leaving home to join the Ulfa. I intend to teach abortionists and brute husbands a lesson after training to be a militant,” read a letter she left behind before vanishing on October 13.
Rina, 23, had rebelled against her family five years ago to marry Firen Roy, 27. Firen allegedly turned out to be an abusive husband and forced Rina to abort four times.
“Why shouldn’t I want an heir? These are baseless allegations fanned by rumours,” Firen said from his village 240km west of Guwahati. He added that he reported his wife as missing at the Karigaon police outpost.
Local police officers said they were probing the domestic violence angle besides trying to locate Rina. “The Ulfa thing could be a ruse,” an officer said.
Rina, villagers said, might have been inspired by Jahnobi Mahanta Rajkonwar, a schoolteacher in eastern Assam’s Tinsukia district who had in February this year left her family to join the Ulfa. She too had left behind a letter addressed to her husband and children saying fighting for the ‘liberation’ of Assam was more important than managing a family.