| Prabal Neog |
Guwahati, May 11: It is about a three decades-old debt that they are paying now.
Former Ulfa militants in their new avatar of the “pro-talks group” have just finished building an embankment along the Dihing river to protect Tekeri Majgaon, a nondescript village in Margherita subdivision of Tinsukia district, from floods.
The village’s claim to fame or infamy is the number of “boys” it had sent to the militant fold and then suffered for it.
“The residents of Tekeri Majgaon are the worst sufferers in the several decades-long insurgency in Assam. The village probably has the largest number of martyrs in this so-called struggle for freedom. We want to do something positive for the villagers,” a leader of the pro-talks group, Prabal Neog, said.
He said Tekeri Majgaon has suffered as much at the hands of the security forces as from the river over the years.
“We can’t undo some of the things, but we have built a 900-metre long embankment which we believe will end the woes of the inhabitants in the flood-affected village,” he said.
Tekeri Majgaon is also believed to be the village from where the first group of Ulfa militants left the soil of Assam to Myanmar in 1989.
Neog, who had joined the outfit two years earlier, was a part of the group which trekked from Tekeri Majgaon through the leech-infested rainforests of Arunachal Pradesh to reach Myanmar.
Neog said it was through the NSCN connection that Ulfa established contact with the Kachin Independent Army of Myanmar for training and supply of arms.
Neog said the group has also started work on a fishery project in a 40-bigha plot in the village.
“The fishery would be a source of income for the youths of the village,” he said, adding that it was lack of development and neglect from authorities that many youths from the village were forced to join Ulfa.
Tinsukia deputy commissioner K.K. Dwivedi said the government was going all out for the uplift of Tekeri Majgaon since the village — a cluster of three hamlets with a population of about 4,000 — is probably the worst insurgency-affected village in the region.
“There is still potential for many a youth to join Ulfa unless we carry out some development work,” he said.
Dwivedi said the village, located in the foothills of Arunachal Pradesh hills, was hitherto been used as a base camp by Ulfa militants en route to the Myanmar camps.
The DC said he along with a team of officials visited the village today to chalk out strategies for its uplift.
Hailing the project taken by the peaceniks, he said the government agencies were providing technical support to it.