The outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (Ulfa) claimed on Monday that Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma was one of its members before betraying its cause to align with forces of ‘colonial India’.
The health minister trashed the claim wondering why the outfit took more than 15 years to ‘expose’ his underground link. “I think Paresh Barua (Ulfa commander-in-chief) and his boys have lost their mental balance,” he said.
Reacting to the Ulfa’s threat to target non-locals if the government did not withdraw counter-insurgency operations by armed forces, Sarma on Sunday ridiculed the outfit’s brand of revolution. “In an age when the press of a button can wipe out three-four countries at a time, they show their strength by planting bombs under rickshaws and railway tracks,” he said.
“His (Sarma’s) flippancy, spinelessness and lack of knowledge were the reasons why he had to leave the Ulfa,” said Ulfa publicity secretary Arunodoi Dohotia in an emailed statement. “But he and members of his government chose to be subservient to New Delhi unlike West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee who holds her own despite being with the colonial forces. Her dealing with New Delhi vis-à-vis Bangladesh is an example.”
The Ulfa’s claim is purported to be on the basis of two Terrorist And Disruptive Activities (Tada) cases against Sarma in 1991. The cases pertained to alleged collection of extortion money by Sarma on behalf of the Ulfa. The case diaries went ‘missing’ later on prompting the Gauhati high court in August 2009 to order the government to furnish details about the cases.
In July last year, chief minister Tarun Gogoi said he would order a CID probe into the missing Tada case diaries after RTI activist Akhil Gogoi claimed to have recovered the missing case diaries.