Jorhat, March 16: Thirteen youths from Charaideo sub-division in Sivasagar district joined the Paresh Barua group of the Ulfa a few days back, citing the indifferent attitude of the authorities in solving various problems of the state.
The youths, most of them less than 30 years of age, stated in a press release that they joined the outfit willingly for the failure of the authorities in solving issues like the granting of Scheduled Tribe status to the Tai Ahom community and the Dibang dam, among others.
The development comes at a time when the outfit was dealt twin blows following the coming overground of two senior leaders — Bijoy Chinese alias Bijoy Das and Guli Asom — last month. Several other senior cadres of the outfit also surrendered before Tinsukia police a few days later. The sub-divisional officer of Charaideo, M.K. Saikia, said he had no official information about the youths joining the Ulfa, but he had heard the news. “We are looking into the matter,” he said.
Sivasagar superintendent of police, B.G. Kuligram, said the police was verifying the authenticity of the release and investigations were on.
The youths who claimed to have joined the Ulfa have not disclosed their addresses or their real surnames and mentioned their surnames as Asom. A few of them who signed the release are Pabitra Asom, Papu Asom, Gonesh Asom, Binod Asom, Jitu Asom, Nomal Asom and Khagen Asom.
The release said all the youths hail from Charaideo sub-division in Sivasagar district. Charaideo, the release stated, was a hotbed of Ulfa activities earlier and more than 40 youths from there had died fighting for “their motherland” over the years.
A senior police officer said Charaideo has always been a hotbed of Ulfa activities because of its close proximity to Nagaland. “It’s very difficult to carry anti-insurgency operations in these areas since militants easily sneak through to Nagaland,” he said.
There are also reports of Ulfa militants taking shelter in Nagaland to carry out strikes in Assam by crossing the border and sneak back. This was one the main reasons for the army to set up at least three permanent bases at Bhojo, Sepekhati and Maibela in Charaideo sub-division.
“Sivasagar district, particularly Charaideo, was the nerve centre of the Ulfa in the outfit’s heydays and we had to set up the camps to quell their activities. The outfit’s activities have gone down but there are several Ulfa cadres who hail from the sub-division and are active members of the Ulfa,” the officer said.