| Jiten Dutta: Autocratic? |
Dibrugarh, Jan. 25: Former cadres of the Alpha and Charlie companies of Ulfa’s 28 battalion, who had fled from their designated camps, said oppression and ill-treatment by their leaders forced them to desert the pro-talks group.
Four members of the ceasefire-bound Alpha and Charlie companies fled their camps in the past four days, though their leader and peacenik Jiten Dutta claimed that seven cadres had been “expelled” from the group for “indiscipline”.
The cadres today said they had been expelled because they had opposed Dutta’s “autocratic” ways.
Uday Bharali was the first member to flee from the Sadiya camp with an AK-56 rifle while he was on sentry duty.
Three others followed suit from different camps yesterday.
A few of the cadres today told The Telegraph on condition of anonymity that they had also been frustrated because of the poor response from the government to the pro-talks group’s peace overtures and the idle life they were leading in the camps.
“Our leaders had declared the unilateral ceasefire on June 24 last year. Since then, there has been cessation of hostilities from our side, but we have seen very little progress in the peace process so far. How long can we wait — two months, three months? Our wait has lasted over six months now,” one of them said over telephone from an undisclosed location.
A cadre also alleged “ill-treatment” by Dutta.
“We are subjected to all kinds of humiliation... we are kept at camps like prisoners,” he said.
“They (leaders) move around in luxurious vehicles and are living a good life, but we have to stay continuously at one place with hardly one square meal a day. We also have to do all the camp maintenance work, like cleaning utensils, cultivating vegetables and face Dutta’s atrocities,” the cadre said.
They said they were also disillusioned because instead of pursuing the agenda of an independent or autonomous Assam, the leaders appeared to be more keen on engaging in various business in Upper Assam.
Diganta Borah, the superintendent of police of Tinsukia, where some of the designated camps are located, said he could not say anything about the “escapees” as they were awaiting “communication” from the pro-peace talks group.
Borah’s Dibrugarh counterpart Anurag Agarwal, however, said the police would definitely take action against those who have fled if they were found involved in “illegal” activities.
“Whether he is moving around with a weapon or not is not of much significance. We will definitely take action against those who ever try to create trouble — be it of the pro-peace group or anti-peace group or those who have fled their camps,” Agarwal said.