From 1.15 am on Friday — when United Liberation Front of Asom chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa and nine others ‘surrendered’ — till 5.27 pm on Saturday, the government had the upperhand in the offensive against the outfit.
But for 25 minutes after he was produced in the court at 5.28 pm, the Ulfa scored a moral victory, or so its ‘commander-in-chief’ Paresh Barua has claimed. This, barely 24 hours after he emailed media houses asking Rajkhowa if he had surrendered.
“Rajkhowa’s assertion at the Kamrup Chief Judicial Magistrate’s court that he has not surrendered and will not hold talks with the government in handcuffs is a moral victory for us,” said Barua, believed to be the last man standing in the Ulfa.
“The pro-Ulfa cries from bystanders while they (Rajkhowa and others) were being taken to court, shows our support base has not eroded as the government claims,” he added.
Rajkhowa’s assertion that he did not surrender followed a meeting of home ministry officials who came from New Delhi on Friday. He and two others — Ulfa deputy commander-in-chief Raju Barua and Rajkhowa’s bodyguard Raja Bora — were held after they declined to talk without the issue of Assam’s sovereignty on agenda.
The Assam assembly session will begin on Monday, where these recent developments are likely to take front seat.