The children of Ulfa chairman Aravinda Rajkhowa, who supposedly fought all his life for establishing an identity for his people, do not even know that they are Assamese.
Born in Bangladesh, they are not even aware that their father is a dreaded rebel leader wanted in India for terror activities. They think he is a businessman, a little different, though.
The story is similar when it comes to the children of other two leaders of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom, who officially surrendered to the Indian authorities in Meghalaya last Friday along with Rajkhowa — deputy commander-in-chief Raju Barua and ‘foreign secretary’ Sashadhar Choudhury.
Rajkhowa’s children know him by his ‘Bangladeshi identity’ — Mijanur Rahman Choudhury. Barua’s daughter knows her father as Anees Ahmed, while Shishirkana thinks her father Sashadhar Choudhury is actually Rafiqul Islam.
The children, however, will have to unravel many deceptions. For, the person who is now known as Aravinda Rajkhowa was Rajib Rajkonwar in his earlier life, while Hitesh Kalita turned into Raju Barua and Palash Phukan became Raja Bora.
While the three leaders surrendered, they had three women and four children with them. The women are Rajkhowa’s wife and head of Ulfa’s women’s wing Kaveri Kachari (42), ‘foreign secretary’ Choudhury’s wife Runima Chetia (41) and Raju Barua’s wife Nirola Neog (30).
The wives and the children — Rajkhowa’s daughter Khonsang Bohagi (13) and son Gadadhar (10), Choudhury’s daughter Shishirkana (8) and Barua’s daughter Pragati (10) —are being kept in a guesthouse of the Assam Police here.
“The children know each other and are used to being called by their Muslim names,” said Inspector General of Police (Special Branch) Khagen Sarma, “They speak Bengali and are not aware that they are Assamese. They are also not aware they are Hindus.”
“The children are convinced they are Bangladeshis. This shows the level of indoctrination by the ISI of Pakistan and the jihadi groups, which have been controlling the Ulfa and its subversive operations,” said an intelligence official on condition of anonymity.
The Assam Police have assigned Bengali-speaking officers to communicate with the rebels’ families.
On Monday, Kamrup Chief Judicial Magistrate Robin Phukan sent Ulfa ‘foreign secretary’ Sashadhar Choudhury and ‘finance secretary’ Chitrabon Hazarika to Guwahati jail. The Border Security Force arrested the two near the Indo-Bangladesh border in Tripura last month.
Choudhury and Hazarika will have three fellow Ulfa leaders for company in the jail — vice-chairman Pradip Gogoi, publicity secretary Mithinga Daimary and cultural secretary Pranati Deka.