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Ulfa does a Desperado

The latest strike by Ulfa against Pradip Hazarika, would have made Mariachi proud, reports Rahul Karmakar.

india Updated: May 14, 2006 15:25 IST

In Robert Rodriguez’s classic Desperado, music — like everything else — is beholden to violence. A little boy ferries heroin in a banjo while El Mariachi, a killer played by Antonio Banderas, moves from town to town with guns concealed in a guitar case — a tale dark enough to inspire none other than Assam’s band of militia, the United Liberation Front of Asom (Ulfa).

The latest strike by the Ulfa against former Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) minister Pradip Hazarika, say the police, would have made Mariachi proud.

The Ulfa — which has always spoken out against “culturally imposing” Bollywood on the Northeast but clearly has no such qualms about being inspired by Hollywood — tweaked the script slightly. The guitar was substituted with a more popular stringed instrument in Assam — the mandolin.

On May 9, when Hazarika and his convoy of motorcycle-bound supporters were passing through Amguri town in Sivasagar, the Ulfa was lying in wait. When the group approached, two men opened fire on Hazarika. The AGP leader survived — he is now at AIIMS undergoing treatment — but two of his personal security officers did not.

When the police officials reached the spot soon after the strike, they found an abandoned mandolin case. Inquiries revealed that a band of young musicians were doing the rounds of the area a few days before the attack.

“Cartridges near the mandolin case revealed the assailants used AK-47s that in all probability were concealed in the mandolin case,” said a district police officer. The local people noticed the boys moving about but did not think much about “innocuous looking musicians”, the officer said.

However, the attack on Hazarika — he won the Amguri Assembly seat defeating transport minister Anjan Dutta of the Congress — has been no music to the ears of the police. The assailants have been as slippery as their cinematic inspiration and it is feared they have sneaked into adjoining Nagaland.

Talk about the reel world spilling over to the real.

First Published: May 14, 2006 02:17 IST

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