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ULFA deputy C-in-C also in net?

ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa’s arrest in Dhaka has understandably hogged the limelight. But intelligence agencies here are equally interested in Hitesh Kalita, one of the three others arrested with Rajkhowa.

india Updated: Dec 03, 2009 00:44 IST
Rahul Karmakar

ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa’s arrest in Dhaka has understandably hogged the limelight. But intelligence agencies here are equally interested in Hitesh Kalita, one of the three others arrested with Rajkhowa.

The other two are ULFA’s key publicity wing member Apurba Barua and Biswamohan Deb Barma, chairman of National Liberation Front of Tripura.

Hitesh Kalita is believed to be the alias of Raju Barua, the ULFA’s dreaded deputy commander-in-chief and military spokesman. Though next to the outfit’s armed wing commander Paresh Barua in the ULFA’s hierarchy, Raju Barua is said to be the outfit’s main weapons manager besides having overseen major subversive operations until ill-health forced him to lie low a couple of years back.

“There’s a fifty per cent chance of Hitesh Kalita actually being Raju Barua. We will get to know for sure when the arrested ULFA men are handed over to India,” said a senior Special Branch officer. “If Kalita is the real McCoy, the ULFA is as good as dead.”

Raju Barua, intelligence officials said, has been the ULFA’s main schemer. His modus operandi included propping up lesser outfits such and striking strategic deals with tribal militant groups. The Kamtapur Liberation Organizion, which wants a separate homeland for the Koch-Rajbongshi community in areas straddling West Bengal and Assam, is said to have been Barua’s initiative. He also was the brain behind ULFA’s axis with National Democratic Front of Bodoland and outfits of Tripura, Manipur and Nagaland.

“If we have Raju Barua along with Rajkhowa, Paresh Barua will be on his own, what with ULFA’s secretary Anup Chetia in the grips of the Bangladesh government and deputy chairman Pradip Gogoi languishing in Guwahati jail,” the officer said.

The “beginning of the ULFA’s possible end” began last month with the arrest of its “finance secretary” Chitrabon Hazarika and “foreign secretary” Sashadhar Choudhury. The two were handed over to BSF in Tripura by Bangladesh authorities. EOM