SUPPORT FOR ULFA-MEN NOSEDIVE, HISTORIC LOW
“When my sons went to join the ranks of ULFA(I), I should have stopped them. They have lost their life and the cartel has lost the goal,” cried an ailing mother.
It was fifth call of week to Arup Chutiya, an estate manager, demanding extortion amount by cadres of ULFA(I). Indifference to these relentless calls indicate self -styled liberation heroes losing ground beneath them. ULFA, The former political champion of local cause is now identified as organised cartel of extortionists and drug traffickers.
ULFA’s compromise on ideology resulted in sympathies for its men nosedive historic low. Social analysts believe, more than two decade long violence and low social development has made people realise, the fallacies involved in insurgency.
Gradually over the years Paresh Baruah, lead ULFA pronounced silent death to its political ideology. Extortions, smuggling, kidnapping and terrorising people of Assam are new found priorities of his cartel.
Plantation estates and small businesses which employ, chunk of local population in Assam are worst affected by the ULFA. “The aim is to extract money. They claim to protect us. In any case without that money, I am left to fend on nothing,” said Anup Gupta, (Name changed) Estate manager.
The extortion activities of ULFA men have hit the poorest hard. Tea estate labourers say their estate managers, ill afford to pass on the profits accrued through their hard labour, as considerable amount of it is siphoned off through extortions. “If my owners close down the estate owing to constant threat and loss of profit through extortion, my family will have to starve for food,” said Bhanuj, a tea estate labourer.
Hero of No People
The fugitive Paresh Baruah and his close cohorts through their organised cartel have spoiled investor sentiments, claim business class. “People from other states equally contribute to Assam’s growth.
Different cultures bring different talents and enterprise to state but ULFA men want nothing of it as it will lead to prosperity,” said Rajesh Agarwal, a Business man in Tinsukia.
In many instances people of Assam volunteered to nab the radicals. Social activists reveal that commoners had joined discreet operations with SFs to hunt down the ULFA leaders. Moreover, new initiative of government, to demonetize Rs 500/ 1000 has sent shivers across insurgents, since all extorted money hidden under earth may have to remain buried forever.
Also, how can a man like Paresh Baruah be a hero who did not even care for his ailing mother who died out of rejection.
Bonhomie with ISI
The biggest arms seizure meant for ULFA at Bangladesh’s Chittagong port in 2004 opened the gravity of malice staring at Assamese people. Paresh Baruah and his men found a new bonhomie with the Pakistan’s spy agency- ISI, which aids them in running multi-million dollar arms racket. The Chittagong seizure is considered to be biggest in the history of Bangladesh, has broken the spine of the front.
ULFA’s depleting patronage is not only from people but from its own ranks and file. With threat of extinction looming large, an unholy alliance is the only option left.
The unholy alliance has come inform of CORCOM, an assorted formation of six insurgent groups, mostly from Manipur and Nagaland who have no locus standi in Assam was imported, with prime motive to terrorise Assamese people.
Sociologists point out, ULFA(I)’s reason behind importing terror from other state is disillusionment and declining self belief, among its own rank and file. Desertions and thousands of surrenders are indication of it, say sociologists. Clearly the ground below ULFA is shirking.
Till date, 8718 cadres of ULFA(I)’s have put down their arms since the beginning of insurgency, according to human rights observers. Surrendered cadres claim, the cartel could not meet even their basic livelihood needs.
Leaving their, own people and cadres to suffer, Paresh Baruah leads a luxurious life. An American think STRATFOR termed him as a “wealthy racketeer” whose fortune extend to $110 million US dollars. The fugitive has managed to get his tentacles into business activities like trawlers, restaurants, driving schools and tanneries in Bangladesh.
With 20 years gone and political motive lost, mothers who had volunteered their sons for insurgents cause are crying their heart out. “When my sons went to join the ranks of ULFA, I should have stopped them. They have lost their life and the group has lost the goal,” cried a disappointed mother whose sons had joined the ULFA ranks a decade back.
Positive Efforts of Administration
Synergised efforts of government, civil administration and security forces have brought more patronage and good will among the people. Aiding schools to rebuild in eastern Assam, youth guidance programs, national integration tours and educational scholarships has resulted in direct benefit to the people.
“All we expect is better future for our children and we want to see them as future engineers and doctors,” said a mother of two who attended a youth guidance program organised by security forces.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views, expressions, policy or position of Voice of Greater Assam in any way whatsoever.