I have not surrendered: ULFA chief in court
ULFA Chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa being produced before CJM Court in Guwahati on December 5. Rajkhowa, along with ten others, including ULFA’s military operations deputy chief Raju Barua, were handed over at the Dawki outpost in the Jaintia hills district, sources said.Along with them were Rajkhowa’s bodyguard, his wife and two children, Raju Barua’s wife and son, and wife and daughter of ULFA’s self-styled foreign secretary Sashadhar Choudhury. (Photo/Ujjal Deb)
Guwahati, December 5 : Three top leaders of United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) have been produced in court. Arabinda Rajkhowa, Raju Barua and another ULFA man have been produced in a court in Guwahati. The police reportedly plan to ask for their custody for interrogation.
As the ULFA leader reached the court premises, Rajkhowa said that he had not surrendered. ULFA leaders have refused to give up their demand for ‘independence’. The fact that Rajkhowa is produced in court and will face murder charges suggest a standoff for now between government and ULFA.
Meanwhile, government sources have said that it’s up to Rajkhowa to decide if he wants negotiations. Rajkhowa has been told sovereignty is non negotiable, said government sources, adding that he has to pledge ULFA would abjure violence.
They also said Rajkhowa has to pledge ULFA would drop demand for independence. The government is hoping ULFA chairman Rajkhowa will bite the talks bait once he is in jail and convince the other ULFA cadres in custody to hold talks with the government.
NDTV has learnt that the government has promised safe passage to the ULFA leaders in exchange for talks. The expected cooperation of Arabinda Rajkhowa, Chairman of ULFA (United Liberation Front of Asom) who was detained on Wednesday, is key to the nascent peace process.
But on Friday, a new hurdle emerged in the shape of an old demand: independence.
Rajkhowa’s insistence on ULFA’s core demand of sovereignty for Assam put the government in a bind. Since his detention, government and intelligence officials have been working on a strategy for negotiations with him.
Rajkhowa and Raju Baruah, another senior ULFA leader detained on Friday morning, will face murder charges when produced in court. Rajkhowa’s wife and children are also now in India’s custody.
No split in ULFA: C-in-C
GUWAHATI, DECEMBER 5 (AGENCIES): ULFA Commander-in-Chief Paresh Baruah has denied rift in the insurgent group in an email to media in Guwahati. Baruah also said that reports of surrender of Arabinda Rajkhowa, the group’s chairman, are a divide and rule tactic. Arabinda Rajkhowa, the Chairman of ULFA, has been in Indian custody since Wednesday. Raju Barua, ULFA’s Deputy Commander-in -Chief, was also handed over to India at the Dawki outpost in Meghalaya on Friday.
Whether Rajkhowa, one of India’s most-wanted militants, surrendered or was arrested, is still unclear. While most senior leaders of ULFA have now either surrendered or been arrested, Paresh Baruah, remains missing. He’s believed to be in Myanmar. In recent phone calls to his cadres in Assam, Baruah ordered violence and bomb blasts to derail any peace talks.
ULFA: The men who call the shots:
• Command-in-chief of ULFA, Paresh Barua, reported to have fled Bangladesh
• Deputy Commander-in-Chief Raju Barua, surrenders, handed over to India
• Chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa, arrested by Bangladesh, in India’s custody now
• ULFA ‘foreign secretary’ Sasha Choudhury, arrested in Bangladesh, in India’s custody now
• ULFA ‘finance secretary’ Chitraban Hazarika, arrested in Bangladesh, in India’s custody now
• Advisor Bhimkanta Buragohain & Vice-chairman Pradip Gogoi in custody
• Central publicity secretary Mithinga Daimary & cultural secretary Pranati Deka in custody
• Other senior leaders Bening Rabha, Ashanta Bagh Phukan, Ponaram Dihingiya of military wing missing since 2003