Assam govt still awaiting 19 Ulfa men from Bangla | india | Hindustan Times
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Assam govt still awaiting 19 Ulfa men from Bangla

india Updated: Sep 25, 2010 22:58 IST
HT Correspondents

The Assam government still has no information on the 19 United Liberation Front of Asom (Ulfa) leaders, who had fled their Bangladesh camp on Friday.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi told a press conference on Saturday that he was aware of the escape, but the rebels had not yet been handed over to the state government.

"That's a good sign. They realise the futility of insurgency. That's why they left their camp. We will give them safe passage if they want," Gogoi said.

Founded in 1979, the Ulfa seeks to establish a sovereign Assam through armed struggle. But the Centre banned the outfit in 1990 and classified it as a terrorist group.

During the past two decades, about 10,000 people died in the clash between the rebels and the government.

On December 5, 2009, Ulfa chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa and deputy commander-in-chief Raju Barua were arrested in Bangladesh and handed over to India.

But the Ulfa military chief, Paresh Barua, who is opposed to any peace talks is still at large. He sent an email to media houses here on Saturday, claiming that the 19 rebels were in an "enemy camp".

He blamed the two jailed leaders — Rajkhowa and Raju Barua — for the escape of the group.

On Friday, a senior official of an intelligence agency said the rebels and their families escaped on Friday and surrendered to the BSF somewhere in Meghalaya on the border.

He said most of the rebels were members of the ad hoc committee formed by Barua after the arrests of Rajkhowa in November last year.

Barua said in the e-mail that from now on, the struggle would be carried out by the new generation and he would fight till the end.