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Assam: This Land Is Not Like Our land

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  • palashc biswas
    Assam, This Land Is Not Like Our Land Palash Biswas (Pl Publish the matter with latest updates and send a copy. contact: Palash C Biswas, c/o Mrs arati Roy,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 6, 2007
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      Assam, This Land Is Not Like Our Land

      Palash Biswas

      (Pl Publish the matter with latest updates and send a
      copy. contact: Palash C Biswas, c/o Mrs arati Roy,
      Gosto kanan, sodepur, Kolkata- 700110, India. Phone:
      91-33-25659551, Res.)

      "This land is not like our land, its sky is not like
      our sky.
      Its sky sends rain down without the origin-ating cause
      of clouds;
      On its ground the green grass sprouts up
      without any aid from the soil.
      It stands outside the circle of the Earth and the
      bowels of the enveloping Sphere.
      The seasons all begin here at the time of their
      conclusion elsewhere.
      Here there is heat in our winter and chill in our
      summer.
      Its roads are frightful as the path leading to the
      Nook of Death;
      Fatal to life is its expense like the unpeopled City
      of Destruction.
      Its forests are full of violence like the heart of the
      ignorant,
      its rivers are beyond limit and estimate like the
      minds of the wise...”

      In such eloquent way the Mulla Darvish of Herat,
      writer of the Raja of Assam, described his impressions
      of the mountainforests on the Northeastern border of
      India during a campaign threehundred years ago. It is
      quite relevent today.

      The Nation bleeds and the wounds are located once
      again in Assam. Suspected separatist rebels fatally
      shot 13 sleeping migrant workers before dawn Saturday,
      adding to a string of attacks over two days that
      killed a total of 48 people and wounded at least 19
      across India's remote northeast, officials said.All
      the attacks targeted poor, Hindi-speaking migrants and
      were likely carried out by United Liberation Front of
      Asom rebels, R.N. Mathur, police chief for Assam
      state, told.


      In the backdrop of stepped up violence in Assam by
      United Liberation Front of Asom militants, Prime
      Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday met President A P
      J Abdul Kalam.The 25-minute meeting at Rashtrapati
      Bhavan was described as "part of regular interaction
      between the two leaders".They discussed issues of
      "national and international importance", a Rashtrapati
      Bhavan spokesman said without elaborating.

      Dr Singh's meeting came close on the heels of his
      strong condemnation of the ULFA killings, which he
      termed as "anti-people act of cowardice and
      inhumanity."

      Migrant workers are frequently attacked by the
      Assamese-speaking separatists in an effort to draw
      national attention to their demands for autonomy.In
      attacks spread over Friday and Saturday, gunmen
      suspected to belong to the United Liberation Front of
      Asom (ULFA) mowed down poor people working in brick
      kilns and petty traders in a gruesome display of
      ethnic hatred.It was the worst outbreak of violence in
      recent years in Assam and the second most gruesome
      since the 2000 gunning down of at least 100
      Hindi-speaking people that had sparked widespread
      revulsion. Both then and now the victims were mainly
      from Bihar.

      Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi feverishly contacted his
      Bihar counterpart Nitish Kumar to stress the
      importance of preventing any backlash in that state,
      through which trains to Assam pass.

      The Assam government has sought additional forces in
      the wake of the ULFA violence on non-Assamese people
      and the attack on Rajdhani Express today.The Assam
      government today asked additional forces from the
      Centre for providing security during the coming 33rd
      National Games here next month and for patrolling
      along railway tracks.

      The methodology is new for ULFA even though the outfit
      had previously targeted labourers from Bihar in 2003.

      Central team to visit Assam

      Strongly condemning the Ulfa killings, the Centre
      today decided to send a high-level team of the Union
      Home Ministry to the state tomorrow for an on the spot
      study of the situation. "The Centre is keeping close
      watch on the situation arising out of the killing of
      innocent persons by militants in Assam since
      yesterday," he said.

      Opinion poll rejects ULFA demand

      In the first ever opinion poll conducted on ULFA's
      demand for a sovereign Assam, a whopping 95 per cent
      people gave the thumbs down.The Assam Public Works, a
      body formed in 2000 comprising family members of ULFA
      cadres, has been mobilising public opinion against the
      outfit.The results indicated that the general public
      is clearly not interested in the ULFA's demand.
      Last September they started a signature campaign
      across nine districts. The question asked was "Do You
      Support the Demand of Sovereignty of Assam by ULFA?"

      Of over twenty-five lakh votes received, more than
      twenty-four lakh people said an emphatic no.

      The ULFA has so far not shown any interest in talks
      with the government. It has continued with extortions,
      abductions and killings.With people now openly signing
      against them, the ULFA can no longer claim a mass
      base. It's time for some serious introspection.

      "It's a big slap on ULFA`s face, today's result says
      that. Now there is only one way for them - they should
      come down for talks," said Ahbijit Sharma, secretary,
      Assam Public Works.

      Public opinion against the ULFA has been largely
      muted. Though the majority believe that the ULFA
      doesn't represent the aspirations of the common
      Assamese, it's only now that citizens are speaking
      out.

      "The message of this plebiscite should go to the rest
      of the districts of Assam so that Assam will see one
      day the complete annihilation of Ulfa and they will
      bid farewell from the political scene of Assam," said
      D N Chakraborty, editor, Dainik Asom.

      "I consider ULFA to be a jackal. But even a mad rabid
      jackal can kill a man, so just like a rabid jackal
      they may hit me and kill me, but I am not afraid to be
      killed by a mad rabid jackal," Chakraborty added.


      True: Much of the vast territory, which 50 years ago
      had been almost completely unadministered and
      unexplored and was summarized under the name “Assam”
      is much better accessible today in comparison to the
      times of Darvish – his lyrical descriptions though
      have not lost much of their authenticity. Still
      mysterious, fierce and almost immeasurably vast the
      modern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur,
      Mizoram, Tripura, Meghalaya and Assam present
      themselves to the visitor today.

      I see Mahabahu Brahmaputra in my dreams so often. I
      still may remember the garndeur of Brahmaputra Beach
      Festival and the dance and music of Bihu. As well as I
      remember the normalcy in and around Guahati, while the
      entire North East remains tense and blood flows any
      time any where. I may remember the faces of non
      Assamese people on the Bank of Brahmaputra and in the
      districts of Marigaon, Naugaon, Gwal para, Kamrup,
      Karimganj , hilakandi and so on. My father went there
      in 1960 as a communist refugee leader to convince the
      Bengali rehabilated migrants to stay there. I had been
      among the people there. The wounds of Assam are the
      wounds of the nation and as well as my wounds and I
      also bleed.

      Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil on Saturday night
      reviewed the security scenario in Assam at a
      high-level emergency meeting to take stock of the
      situation arising out of sudden spurt in ULFA killings
      in the state.After the hour-long meeting at Patil's
      residence, Union Home Secretary V K Duggal told
      reporters that a high-powered Central team led by
      Minister of State for Home Sriprakash Jaiswal will
      leave for Assam on Sunday for an on the spot study of
      the situation. He will be accompanied by the Special
      Secretary (Internal Security) and other senior
      officials.He said the Home Ministry was in constant
      touch with the state government.

      "While the Home Minister has spoken to the Chief
      Minister, I have talked to the Chief Secretary and
      Director General of Police," he said. "The situation
      is some what tense, but under control. Patrolling has
      been intensified."

      To a question, he asserted that the National Games
      would be held in Assam as per schedule.

      Duggal said the state government has been asked to
      take every possible step to ensure safety and security
      to people from Bihar and West Bengal staying there and
      added that the meeting condemned the attacks in the
      strongest possible terms.On the demand for more
      Central forces, he said while some extra companies had
      been provided in the recent past, more forces would be
      given, if needed.

      The meeting was attended by Directors General of
      Military Intelligence and Military Operations, DG
      CRPF, IB Chief and other senior officials.

      Assam is like a mighty elephant amongst Seven sisters
      of assam which is quite unaware of its future
      prospects. In neo global scenerio, while Eastern India
      has maximum scope to have the opportunities in trade
      and industry as Chinese great walls fall open and the
      south east Asia knocks the Indian doors. Assam may
      prove to be gate way of India in North East. Ulfa is
      trying its best to sustain Assamese identity while
      negating the existence of other identities in Assam.
      Hence every non Assamese, often the innocent
      proletarian helpless people belonging to underclasses
      and uprooted from their native villages are targeted.
      Even Ulfa may not touch the ruling classes which are
      really responsible for the misery of Nationalit
      Ahamia.Assam also produces crude oil and natural gas.
      Assam is the second place in the world (after
      Titusville in the United States) where petroleum was
      discovered. Asia’s first successful mechanically
      drilled oil well was drilled in Makum (Assam) way back
      in 1867. The second oldest oil well in the world still
      produces crude oil. Most of the oilfields of Assam are
      located in the Upper Assam region of the Brahmaputra
      Valley. Assam has four oil refineries located at
      Guwahati, Digboi, Numaligarh and Bongaigaon with a
      total capacity of 7 MMTPA (Million Metric Tonnes per
      annum).Bongaigaon Refinery and Petrochemicals is the
      only S&P CNX 500 conglomerate with corporate office in
      Assam. Its gross income for 2005 was Rs.56,740
      million. The incidents in Assam is making ONGC routine
      most difficult daily. It not only wold have adverse
      impact on Indian economy, polity and society, the fire
      also touches Nationality ahmia.

      ULFA may not realise not only we Indians all over, but
      the people of Assam also bleed. They may not feel the
      pulses of pained hearts around. Thus, the disgusting,
      indecent genocide is repeated so often.

      Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Saturday voiced shock as
      separatists in Assam went on a murder spree, killing
      at least 48 Hindi-speaking people in coordinated
      savagery that numbed the country.Saturday after the
      massacre of 19 Hindi-speaking people by suspected
      separatists in the most gruesome incident of its kind
      in six years.

      Around the time the killings took place in six
      separated but seemingly coordinated incidents, two
      bombs went off in Assam, one of which narrowly missed
      seriously damaging a moving train.

      Ministerial team from Bihar leaves for Assam

      A high-level delegation comprising three ministers and
      two top officials from civil and police administration
      left for Assam on Saturday to take stock of the
      situation following the ULFA carnage.Bihar Chief
      Minister Nitish Kumar said that the delegation would
      comprise Nand Kishore Yadav,Bijendra Prasad Yadav and
      Janardan Singh Sigriwal (all ministers) besides IGP
      (HQ) Anil Sinha and additional Home Secretary Jitendra
      Kumar.


      "Most victims were Hindi-speaking people," a
      distraught Assam chief minister told IANS.

      "We have asked the security forces, including the
      army, to take effective steps to curb the violence,"
      the chief minister said.

      As panic gripped the mostly Bihari population in
      Assam, three ministers from Bihar prepared to visit
      Assam to instil confidence among people from the state
      who live in large numbers in the northeastern state.

      The killings began when militants dressed in army
      uniforms attacked brick kiln workers and fishermen
      near Ghormori Chapori, a sandbar located in Tinsukia
      district, about 590 km east of Assam's main city
      Guwahati.

      "The militants tied the hands of the people and shot
      them from close range with automatic weapons," an
      official said.

      "The immediate provocation was the killing of five
      ULFA leaders by security forces in the past one week
      and the arrest of two of their frontline leaders," the
      official added.

      Said Rajesh Tiwari, a coal trader in Tinsukia town:
      "We fear more such attacks and are worried for our
      lives. We have lived in Assam for decades, but we
      don't know whether to stay put or flee."

      "The attacks were reminiscent of the one we saw in
      2000," said Hariprasad Gupta, another trader in
      Tinsukia, originally hailing from Bihar.

      Meanwhile, passengers of the Rajdhani Express bound
      for the eastern town of Dibrugarh from New Delhi had a
      miraculous escape when a powerful bomb planted
      underneath a bridge exploded, damaging a coach.

      The incident occurred near Diphu in eastern Assam
      around 12.50 am Saturday.

      "It was a lucky escape as the explosion damaged a
      portion of the coach although there were no
      casualties. The blast damaged at least 1.5 metres of
      the track," railway spokesman T. Rabha said.

      The track has since been repaired with trains running
      normally after a 10-hour disruption.

      The three districts that witnessed the attacks had not
      been polled but were to be included in the second
      phase of assessment by the civil rights group, Assam
      Public Works.

      The bloody attacks came a day after officials appealed
      to ULFA not to disrupt next month's National Games,
      which the rebels have threatened to disrupt with
      violence.

      Assam......the rich, green land of rolling plains and
      dense forests is the gateway to the north eastern part
      of India. The mighty Brahmaputra river that has its
      origins in Tibet charts its majestic course through
      this state. This mystic land of eternal blue hills and
      beautiful rivers is renowned for its tea, rich flora
      and fauna, the world famous one horned rhinoceros and
      other rare species of wildlife on the verge of
      extinction. Barring Africa, there is perhaps no part
      of the world where such a variety of wildlife exists.
      Situated between 90-96 degree East Longitute and 24-28
      degree North Latitude, Assam is bordered in the North
      and East by the Kingdom of Bhutan and Arunachal
      Pradesh. Along the south lies Nagaland, Manipur and
      Mizoram. Meghalaya lies to her South-West, Bengal and
      Bangladesh to her West.

      major language families: Austroasiatic (5),
      Sino-Tibetan (24) and Indo-European (12). Three of the
      spoken languages do not fall in these families. There
      is a high degree of bilingualism. The number of ethnic
      communities in the state is very large. The People of
      India project (POI) has studied 115 communities. Of
      these 79 (69%) identify themselves regionally, 22
      (19%) identify themselves locally, and 3 communities
      identify themselves trans-nationally.The earliest
      settlers were Austroasiatic. The Tibeto-Burman
      speakers have entered the region from the north,
      northeast and southeast at various times in the
      prehistorical and historical times. The Indo-Aryan
      speakers have entered the region from the Gangetic
      plains in the west again at various times in the past.

      Assam has communities representing many different
      religions, but the major religion is Hinduism
      (67.13%). Islam (28.43%) constitutes the largest
      proportional population among all Indian states except
      Jammu and Kashmir. Other significant religions (4.44%)
      include Animism (followed by many tribal communities),
      Buddhism (by ethnic communities like the Khamti,
      Phake, Aito etc.) and Sikhism (followed by communities
      in Borkhola, in Nagaon).

      In Hinduism, Assam has played a significant role in
      the growth of the sakta form of worship and Tantricism
      which continues in the present times. Saivism too
      continues to be important. The medieval times saw the
      emergence of a Bhakti movement led by Srimanta
      Sankardeva which continues to be strong today. The
      Islamic population is predominantly Sunni, and is
      divided into three communities: Syed, Shaikh and
      Moria. The early Islamic population (starting 13th
      century) was the result of remnants of invading armies
      and newer communities are agrarian and labor settlers
      from present-day Bangladesh.

      The benefit of development in Assam is relatively
      evenly spread. It has a larger representation of
      leadership in panchayat and regional levels and a
      relative gender equality.

      After the independence from British rule in 1947,
      Assam spawned four more states to become one of the
      seven sister states in the 1960s and 1970s. The new
      states were Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Mizoram and
      Meghalaya. The capital of Assam, which was in
      Shillong, had to be moved to Dispur, now a part of an
      expanding Guwahati.

      In 1961, the Government of Assam passed legislation
      making the usage of Assamese language compulsory. The
      legislatiom resulted in widespread protest across
      Assam, particularly by the significant non-Assamese
      speaking minority. In one such incident, 11 Bengalis
      were killed by police firing in Silchar in southern
      Assam on May 19th. Coming under intense pressure, the
      Government withdrew the legislation.

      In the 1980s the Brahmaputra valley saw a six-year
      Assam Agitation that began non-violently but became
      increasingly violent. The movement was triggered by
      the discovery of a sudden rise in registered voters on
      electoral rolls. The movement tried to force the
      government to identify and deport foreigners who, the
      natives maintained, are illegally inundating the land
      from neighboring Bangladesh and changing the
      demographics, gradually pushing the indigenous
      Assamese into a minority. Critics called it a
      xenophobic reaction of a racist people. The agitation
      ended after an accord between the leaders of the
      agitation and the Union Government. Most of the accord
      remains unimplemented today, a cause for a simmering
      discontent. However there is more to this problem than
      what meets the eye. Political parties have
      increasingly used the Bangladeshi card as a vote bank
      rather than addressing the concerns of the Assamese
      populace. However in recent years the Government of
      India has come to identify the problem of infiltration
      as a threat to national security. Former Governor of
      Assam (Retd) Lt Gen. S.K.Sinha makes this explicit in
      his report to the Government of India. An inhospitable
      terrain and a porous border constitute major
      challenges in checking this problem of infiltration

      This was followed by demands for greater autonomy
      especially by the Bodos in the later 1980s and 1990s.
      The period also saw the growth of armed secessionist
      groups like United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and
      National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB). The
      union government responded by deploying the Indian
      army to control the situation in November 1990,
      leading to claims of human rights violations. The
      Indian army deployment has now been institutionalized
      under a Unified Command. Worsening inter-ethnic
      relationships also marked this period.

      The 2000s saw inter-ethnic killings, especially in the
      Karbi and Cachar hills (e.g the Hmar-Dimasa conflict).
      Bihu
      Main article: Bihu

      Bihu is a series of prominent festivals of Assam.
      Primarily a festival celebrated to mark the seasons
      and the significant points of a cultivator's life over
      a yearly cycle, in recent times the form and nature of
      celebration has changed with the growth of urban
      centers. A non-religious festival, all
      communities---religious or ethnic---take part in it.
      Three Bihus are celebrated: rongali, celebrates the
      coming of spring and the beginning of the sowing
      season; kongali, the barren bihu when the fields are
      lush but the barns are empty; and the bhogali, the
      thanksgiving when the crops have been harvested and
      the barns are full. Rongali, kongali & bhogali bihu
      are also known as 'bohag bihu', 'kati bihu' & 'magh
      bihu'respectivly. The day before the each bihu is
      known as 'uruka'. There are unique features of each
      bihu. The first day of 'rongali bihu' is called 'Goru
      bihu' (the bihu of the cows). On this day the cows are
      taken to the nearby rivers or ponds to be bathed. Cows
      take a special position among the people of Assam.


      [edit] Music
      Main article: Music of Assam

      Assam, being the home to many ethnic groups and
      different cultures, is very rich in folk music. The
      indigenous folk music has in turn influenced the
      growth of a modern idiom, that finds expression in the
      music of such artists like Bhupen Hazarika, Nirmalendu
      Choudhury & Utpalendu Choudhury, Rudra Baruah, Parbati
      Prasad Baruah, Jayanta Hazarika, Khagen Mahanta among
      many others. Among the new generation, Zubeen Garg,
      Debojit Saha and Jitul Sonowal have a great fan
      following.

      United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) - Terrorist
      Group of Assam
      Formation

      United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) was formed on
      April 7, 1979 by Bhimakanta Buragohain, Rajiv
      Rajkonwar alias Arabinda Rajkhowa, Golap Baruah alias
      Anup Chetia, Samiran Gogoi alias Pradip Gogoi,
      Bhadreshwar Gohain and Paresh Baruah at the Rang Ghar
      in Sibsagar to establish a "sovereign socialist Assam"
      through an armed struggle.

      Leadership

      Arabinda Rajkhowa is the ‘Chairman’ of ULFA. ‘Vice
      Chairman’ Pradip Gogoi was arrested on April 8, 1998,
      and is currently in judicial custody at Guwahati.
      ‘General Secretary’ Anup Chetia is under detention in
      the Bangladeshi Dhaka after being arrested on December
      21, 1997. The outfit’s founding member and ideologue
      Bhimakanta Buragohain, ‘Publicity Secretary’ Mithinga
      Daimary and ‘Assistant Secretary’ Bolin Das were
      arrested during the military operations in Bhutan in
      December 2003. Earlier, ‘Cultural Secretary’ Pranati
      Deka was arrested at Phulbari in the West Garo Hills
      district of Meghalaya.

      The ULFA has a clearly partitioned political and
      military wing. Paresh Barua heads the military wing as
      the outfit’s ‘commander-in-chief’.Following the
      military operations in Bhutan in December 2003, most
      of its top leadership reportedly operates from
      unspecified locations in Bangladesh. According to
      reports, ULFA is in the process of relocating its
      camps in Myanmar, Mon district of Nagaland, Garo hills
      of Meghalaya and Tirap and Changlang districts of
      Arunachal Pradesh.


      A military wing of the ULFA, the Sanjukta Mukti Fouj
      (SMF) was formed on March 16, 1996. SMF has three
      full-fledged battalions (Bn): the 7th, 28th and 709th.
      The remaining battalions exist only on paper – at best
      they have strengths of a company or so.

      Links

      The ULFA sought shelter in the forests on the
      Indo-Bhutan border from the early 1990s and
      established several camps in the forest areas of
      southern Bhutan. Over the years, it reportedly
      developed linkages with several officers and personnel
      of the Royal Bhutan Army (RBA) and Police – which
      ensured, among other things, a steady flow of rations,
      logistical support as well as aid and contacts for
      money laundering. The ULFA’s Bhutan set-up had a
      reported strength of around 2000 cadres spread across
      the outfit’s ‘General Head Quarters’, it’s ‘Council
      Head Quarters’, a ‘Security-cum-Training Camp’ and a
      well-concealed ‘Enigma Base’.
      Most camps and other establishment of the ULFA were in
      Sandrup Jongkhar, a district in southern Bhutan that
      borders Assam’s Nalbari district. The RBA is reported
      to have destroyed all the outfit’s camps and
      observation posts during the military operations
      launched in December 2003.


      In 1986, ULFA first established contacts with the then
      unified National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN)
      and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) of Myanmar for
      training and arms. ULFA linked up with the Kachins
      through the 'good offices' of the Naga rebels. It
      learnt the rudiments of insurgent tactics from the
      Kachins (who reportedly charged Rupees 100,000 per
      trainee).Subsequently, links were established with
      Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and the
      Afghan Mujahideen. Reports indicate that at least 200
      ULFA activists received training in Pakistan and
      Afghanistan. Seized documents and interrogation of
      some arrested activists revealed that the Defense
      Forces Intelligence (DFI) of Bangladesh had also
      trained ULFA cadres in the Sylhet district.

      ULFA also has a number of camps in Bangladesh. The ISI
      and the Directorate General of Field Intelligence
      (DGFI) of Bangladesh are agencies which reportedly
      facilitate the ULFA’s presence and operations. Several
      details of ULFA's Bangladesh connection were exposed
      when the Bangladeshi authorities arrested its leader
      Anup Chetia on December 21, 1997. He is currently
      under detention at the high-security Dhaka Central
      Jail. The main charges against Chetia include illegal
      entry into Bangladesh, possession of two forged
      Bangladeshi passports, possession of an unauthorised
      satellite telephone and illegal possession of foreign
      currency of countries as diverse as the US, UK,
      Switzerland, Thailand, Philippines, Spain, Nepal,
      Bhutan, Belgium, Singapore and others. Two other
      accomplices, identified as Babul Sharma and Laxmi
      Prasad, were also arrested along with Chetia.

      Apart from running training camps, ULFA launched
      several income generating projects in Bangladesh. It
      has set up a number of firms in Dhaka, including media
      consultancies and soft drink manufacturing units.
      Besides it is reported to own three hotels, a private
      clinic, and two motor driving schools in Dhaka. Paresh
      Barua is reported to personally own or has controlling
      interests in several businesses in Bangladesh,
      including a tannery, a chain of departmental stores,
      garment factories, travel agencies, shrimp trawlers
      and transport and investment companies.


      ULFA’s camps in Bangladesh have been functioning since
      1989, at which time there were 13 to 14 such camps.
      Commencing initially with using Bangladesh as a safe
      haven and training location, ULFA gradually expanded
      its network to include operational control of
      activities and the receipt and shipment of arms in
      transit before they finally entered India. The Muslim
      United Liberation Tigers of Assam (MULTA) and Muslim
      United Liberation Front of Assam (MULFA) are the chief
      suppliers of arms for the ULFA through Bangladesh.
      Owing to greater vigil along the known routes of ULFA
      arms flow, the group has, in recent times, been making
      attempts to set up bases in Meghalaya, especially in
      the West Garo Hills to coordinate the transit of arms
      coming through Bangladesh.


      ULFA has for long maintained close linkages with the
      Pakistan’s ISI which procured several passports for
      Paresh Baruah and other ULFA cadres. Several ULFA
      cadres have also received arms training from the ISI
      at various training centres in Pakistan, close to the
      Afghanistan border. The top ULFA leadership was also
      in close touch with certain officers of the Pakistani
      High Commission in Bangladesh, who have arranged for
      their passport in various names and travel to Karachi,
      from where they have been taken to the terrorist
      training centres run by the ISI and its affiliates.
      ULFA had also announced its support for Pakistan
      during the Kargil war. They described the Pakistani
      intruders – primarily Pakistani Army regulars and
      Afghan mercenaries – as ‘freedom fighters’. Some
      children of top ULFA leaders are reportedly studying
      in the USA and Canada under ISI protection. Reports
      indicate that the ULFA's mouthpiece, ULFA's a website
      newsletter Swadhinata also known as ‘Freedom’,
      receives editorial support from ISI agents inside
      Pakistan. It was in ‘Freedom’ that the ULFA first
      supported the Pakistanis during the Kargil war. The
      ISI has provided ULFA cadres with arms training, safe
      havens, funds, arms and ammunition. Training has been
      given at camps in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Bhutan. At
      least 300 ULFA cadres were also trained at Rawalpindi
      and other locations in Pakistan. The training included
      courses in the use of rocket launchers, explosives and
      assault weapons. Paresh Baruah has been regularly
      visiting Karachi since 1992-93. He is also reported to
      have met Osama bin Laden in 1996 during a visit to
      Karachi. The ULFA leader was reportedly taken to a
      camp on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, where he not
      only received assurance of military help in the form
      of arms and ammunition, but also assurances of
      co-operation and logistical support of all
      international organisations owing allegiance to bin
      Laden, including the International Jehad Council, the
      Tehrik-ul-Jehad, Harkat-ul-Jehadi-e-Islami (HuJI),
      apart from the Al Qaeda.


      The ISI has also trained ULFA terrorists in counter
      intelligence, disinformation and use of sophisticated
      weapons and explosives. Pakistan has facilitated the
      visits of Paresh Baruah and other ULFA leaders to
      Singapore, Thailand and other countries, and a channel
      for the transfer of funds and arms has been created.
      Several Madrassas (seminaries) and mosques sponsored
      by the ISI in the Sylhet and Cox's Bazaar areas are
      being used to hoard and transfer arms procured by the
      ULFA from Thailand and Myanmar. The ISI largesse
      enabled ULFA to buy arms in Cambodia, paying for these
      in hard currency routed through Nepal. The ISI also
      'introduced' ULFA to LTTE transporters who, for a fee,
      undertook to transport arms from Southeast Asia into
      Myanmar. In April 1996, Bangladesh seized more than
      500 AK-47 rifles, 80 machineguns, 50 rocket launchers
      and 2,000 grenades from two ships off Cox's Bazaar.
      Four Tamils were among those arrested


      Co-operation between various terrorist organisations
      in India’s north-east and foreign groups was
      formalised with the formation of the Indo-Burmese
      Revolutionary Front (IBRF) in 1989. The IBRF was made
      up initially of the NSCN-K, ULFA, United Liberation
      Front of Bodoland, Kuki National Front (KNF) (all from
      India) and Chin National Front (Myanmar). Paresh
      Baruah is reported to have paid a substantial sum of
      money to the Kachins for the first large consignment
      of weapons from Thailand. Manerplaw in lower Myanmar
      on the border with Thailand is the stronghold of the
      rebel Karen National Union which, in 1993, is reported
      to have delivered, from the Cambodian arms market,
      AK-56 rifles, machine guns, rocket-propelled guns and
      anti-tank rifles to the ULFA. The organisation’s
      cadres have identified an arms dealer as an ethnic
      Kachin and wife of an assassinated Manipuri rebel
      Themba Song. The Communist Party of Burma is known to
      have gifted some weapons, mainly Chinese-made M10
      rifles, to ULFA and Naga terrorist organisations.


      Arrested ULFA cadres have claimed that Baruah used to
      smuggle heroin, procured in Myanmar, into Assam as
      part of "a personal operation". According to
      surrendered ULFA cadres, the ULFA terrorists had also
      crossed over into China via Bhutan and established
      contact with the Chinese Army. The group, on the basis
      of these contacts, had a rendezvous with a Chinese
      ship on the high seas in March 1995 during which a
      weapons’ consignment was transferred to them. A
      further consignment ultimately landed up in Bhutan in
      1999, though it was actually acquired in 1997. ULFA
      also runs profitable narcotics business in Myanmar and
      Thailand. A close nexus between ULFA and the
      Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had also been
      reported. The LTTE is reported to have trained various
      ULFA cadres in explosives handling.


      AASU activists rejoicing in Guwahati on Tuesday after
      the Supreme Court struck down the Foreigners’ Tribunal
      Amendment Order 2006. – UB Photos

      SC strikes down Foreigners Order ’06
      From Kalyan Barooah
      NEW DELHI, Dec 5 – In a major setback to the Central
      Government, the Supreme Court today struck down the
      controversial Foreigners (Tribunals for Assam) Order,
      2006, brought in haste by the Centre ahead of the Asom
      Assembly elections, and asked the State Government to
      set up the tribunals under the Foreigners Order 1964,
      within four months. The Supreme Court’s verdict,
      delivered by a Division Bench comprising Justice SB
      Sinha and Justice PK Balasubramanyam in a packed court
      room, is the second blow to the Central and the State
      governments after the repeal of the IM(DT) Act. The
      notification was the outcome of the recommendation of
      the Group of Ministers constituted by the Prime
      Minister Manmohan Singh with External Affairs Minister
      Pranab Mukherjee as the chairman. The Order, notified
      on February 10 and was dubbed as a bid to bring the
      defunct IM(DT) Act through the back door, puts the
      onus of proof on the complaints, replication of a
      clause in the IM(DT) Act.

      The Order was challenged first by Charan Deka of BJP
      and Sarbananda Sonowal of AGP, alleging violation of
      the Supreme Court verdict.

      The Apex Court, which had reserved the verdict on May
      5, this morning ordered scrapping of the Amendment
      Order describing it as unconstitutional. The Court
      ordered the State Government to expedite the
      constitution of the Tribunals as ordered in the IM(DT)
      Act order.

      Justice Sinha read out the Operative part of the
      verdict and it was all over in matters of minutes.
      Interestingly none of the two petitioners were present
      in the court room, when the order was read out. The
      court room, however, was packed with advocates and
      media men. The Court also ordered the Government to pa

      palashcbiswas,
      gostokanan, sodepur, kolkata-700110 phone:033-25659551


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