Not ULFA (I)? Then who?

Thursday, 25 February 2021



Not ULFA (I)? Then who?

Swapnil Bharali | November 03, 2018 14:40 hrs

The crazy piece of news that came in about 5 non-Assamese people being killed by militants in battle fatigues at Dhola near Tinsukia was reminiscent of those troubled times that Assam went through in the 1980s. To be pulled away from their moment of relaxation and killed “execution style” with a weapon as sophisticated as an AK-47 (as per eye witnesses) obviously got the needle of suspicion to point to the Paresh Baruah-led ULFA (Independent); the organization has been in the news of late for a crass attempt at bombing the city of Guwahati just ahead of Durga Puja. The twist in the tale came the next morning with the denial written in eloquent English, in all caps, and printed on its letterhead, signed by a member of the militant outfit’s publicity department. So far, no other militant organization has claimed responsibility for the killing thereby compounding the confusion.


The point to ponder here is: if not the ULFA (I), who? For all of the top brass of the state’s police department rushing to the spot and the Indian army launching a massive operation to nab the killers, nothing seems to have materialised so far. And it will not be surprising if no conclusive evidence comes up that can determine the rogues or organisation that was up to this mindless mischief.


But the big point of consternation with these kinds of hate killings is the seeming lack of realization among these perpetrators of hate that there can be retaliation – a kind of retaliation which will throw up civilian Assamese casualties far greater than these five Bengalis that were killed. The exodus of Assamese workers from Bangalore that stemmed from rumours that they would be made targets was enough to create serious panic and this is still fresh in the mind. Just a rumour sent these Assamese scurrying back to their home state.


And so, this brings me to wonder what kind of things, messages or politics influence such killers in these remote pockets of Assam that such acts are carried out with no consideration of the broader fallout that can affect the Assamese community at large. It is highly unlikely that the act was done by a few individuals. But the ULFA (I) denial? So who’s lying here?

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