ULFA says it with bullets

The outfit's leadership has taken to sending boxes of bullets to targets of extortion bids as a warning, reports Rahul Karmakar.

india Updated: Oct 16, 2006 03:34 IST

Bollywood honchos, it seems, are not the only ones to filch ideas — er, get “inspired”. These days, the ULFA, too, is drawing “inspiration” from an almost-forgotten practice of Mizo rebels.

As if an extortion notice from the ULFA is not menacing enough, the outfit’s leadership has taken to sending boxes of bullets to targets of extortion bids as a warning of what might follow if they fail to pay up.

The idea is borrowed from the long passé practice of Mizoram-based militant groups, who used to hand-deliver a packet of live bullets to a person to be killed.

But style, often, is old wine in new bottle. So, Ulfa has adopted the Mizo militants’ method of “saying it with bullets”, but with a twist. Its bullets do not necessarily mean death; rather, they give the person receiving the lethal “gift” an idea of how much time he has to pay up.

Ever since its birth 27 years ago, the Ulfa has been issuing extortion notes on its letterhead bearing its symbol — a rising sun. These notes were invariably sent to big business houses and tea garden owners. But with many firms shifting base, the resources have dried up. Consequently, the outfit has been targeting average employees and petty traders, serving them demand notes with ‘gift-wrapped’ bullets.

Take the case of Prafulla Bora. Posted in the state capital, this central government employee from Arandhara village in Sivasagar district was dumbstruck when two persons knocked on his door and asked his wife to pay up Rs 5 lakh. Bora informed the police, only to be handed a letter containing three live bullets. The letter, signed by ULFA’s 28 battalion commander Jibon Moran, set him a week’s deadline that expired last week.

Petty traders across the state have received similar letters. One of them, who runs a small business in the Maligaon locality here, approached the Kamrup Chamber of Commerce for help.

A spokesman of the Chamber said they subsequently informed Senior Superintendent of Police Nitul Gogoi. The trader, though, was more fortunate than Bora in the sense that he was asked to pay Rs 2 lakh less and gifted only one bullet, which the police said probably meant he had more time to manage the “donation” for the outfit’s “revolutionary cause”.

First Published: Oct 16, 2006 03:34 IST