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Ulfa-I in line of fire over execution

The body of Pramod Gogoi at Sivasagar civil hospital

Sivasagar, Jan. 17: The execution of Ulfa (Independent) leader Pramod Gogoi alias Partha Pratim Asom by the anti-talks group has drawn sharp public reaction with residents of greater Gaurisagar area of Sivasagar district “banning” the outfit.

Pramod, who was killed by Ulfa (I) in Nagaland on Wednesday, was cremated at his native village Hatighuli in greater Gaurisagar, about 20km from Sivasagar town, in the presence of a large number of mourners today.

The Ulfa (I) has made several allegations against Pramod. These include financial irregularities, getting its cadres killed by having a secret understanding with Assam police and Assam Rifles, forcing cadres to surrender, helping police intercept arms consignments on three occasions and striking a Rs 1-crore deal with the police for supplying photographs and satellite imagery of the outfit’s hideouts.

The outfit issued a statement on Wednesday that it had killed Pratim Asom. Nagaland police recovered his body yesterday from Upper Tiru, a hilly, forested area, and brought it to Naginimora police station, about 10km away, and handed it over to Assam police.

The body was then brought to Sivasagar civil hospital for post-mortem and handed over to family members in the evening.

A memorial function was held at his residence this morning after which a large number of people held a rally in the area with the body. A meeting, presided over by Cheniram Nath, a retired teacher of the area, was held at the cremation site.

Pramod being cremated at Hatighuli in Sivasagar district on Friday

Speakers at the meeting criticised Ulfa (I) for killing Pramod without any proof. They dared the anti-talks faction to furnish proof of his involvement in anti-organisational activities.

The meeting resolved to “ban” the outfit from greater Gaurisagar. It urged the outfit to make public the organisation’s accounts and declared Pramod a martyr. It also decided to observe a public adya shraddha (last rites) of the slain leader.

The meeting also decided to appeal to the outfit to hand over Pramod’s family members, reportedly living in an Ulfa camp in Myanmar, to his paternal family. Pramod is survived by his wife and two sons.

Sources said the “ban” would adversely affect the Paresh Barua-led outfit.

Pramod’s brothers Ajit and Tarun also asked Ulfa (I) to furnish proof of his involvement in financial irregularities or withdraw the allegation levelled against him.

They also urged the organisation to join the mainstream and not to mete out such treatment to any other cadre serving it.

Ulfa (pro-talks) chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa said he could not believe that Pramod could conduct financial irregularities. “Pramod’s death gives me the feeling of a father who has lost his son untimely. The reward of his long service and sacrifice to the outfit is unfortunate. This will hamper the revolutionary mentality of the Assamese people,” he added.

He said in any organisation, faith plays the most important role and the top leadership has to give more importance to the dedication and sacrifices of cadres rather than engage in baseless allegations.

Protesters burn the effigy of Ulfa (I) chief Paresh Barua in Hatighuli on Friday to protest Pramod’s death. Pictures by UB Photos

The east zone leader of Ulfa (pro-talks), Manoj Kumar Lahon alias “captain” Kamal Barphukan, said he had got in touch with Pramod about 10 days ago. “His death is unfortunate and I do not feel it was a crime that led to his execution. Pramod was inclined towards joining the peace process and I believe this was the main reason for his death,” he added.


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