Assam - The Enemy Within

The series of bomb blasts in Assam on the black day of 30th October only reinforces one emotion in the heart of the man on the streets of Assam – fear. Innocent civilians have fallen prey to yet another wave of carnage and death perpetrated by the merchants of death. Terrorism seems to have become an inextricable part of our daily life. The most disconcerting part of the whole affair is that even the government machinery looks helpless in the matter. The Police appear to have resigned themselves to terror as a part of destiny that cannot be changed. The press conferences and expressions of condemnation by the various political leaders have done little to enhance the confidence of the people. The statements emanating out of the government chambers are beginning to sound more and more like perfunctory monotones rather than expressions of any real intent or determination. Does this then imply that we can do nothing but be sitting ducks as a bunch of perverted minds continue to plot and inflict pain and suffering on our land and people, as and when they choose to, that too with disdainful ease?

Notwithstanding the fact that terrorism is nothing new for the people of India, the terror problem in Assam is distinct from similar situations facing the rest of India. In Assam, the people are afraid of speaking out against the terror groups. This is because the common man is easy prey to and within easy reach of the home-grown terrorists, chief among them being the ULFA. Recent investigations have revealed that the ULFA has been providing active support to all the jihad groups in Bangladesh plotting to inflict pain and suffering on the people of Assam. The ULFA was and to some extent still is part of the Assamese society. The ULFA had started as a social reformist organization in the eighties. At that time, they were the darlings of the Assamese society. Social nuisances such as eve teasing, drug trafficking and alcohol addiction were the targets of ULFA wrath. As a result, Assamese society suddenly found a saviour in the ULFA in that the society was being rid of all the inherent evils and women found themselves safer in the cities and workplaces. Sadly though, all that is a far cry from the ULFA of today. They have long reneged from their original promises and instead started using their power for the fulfillment of their personal desires. They started collecting “protection money” from local people at gunpoint and used the money to buy more guns and ammunition. The top leaders of the ULFA sought safe haven in Bangladesh and Bhutan and continued to spread violence across Assam. Initially, the targets of ULFA aggression were the governmental security agencies. Gradually, however, they became more and more unscrupulous. They started planting bombs in public places and passenger trains. The principles of the ULFA reached their lowest point when they joined hands with anti-India forces in Bangladesh and began plotting the destruction of their own land and people. In fact, they provide support to terrorist groups from across the border (read Bangladesh and Pakistan) in killing Assamese people. The ULFA leaders in Bangladesh enjoy the full-fledged support of the government of that country. In return for these favors, ULFA continues to extort money from the businessmen and salaried people of Assam and uses that money partly for satisfaction of their worldly desires, partly for assisting the jehadi groups in Bangladesh plotting against India and partly for developmental works in Bangladesh. In fact, the ULFA has been forced to ignore the infiltration of Bangladeshis into Assam for fear of irking the Bangladeshi government. This is the reason why the ULFA maintains a conspicuous silence whenever the issue of detection and deportation of illegal Bangladeshis from Assam comes into prominence. They want to maintain a fa├žade of patriotism while plotting against their own people in collusion with foreign forces.

In Assam, the ULFA has indirectly become the protector of the Bangladeshi migrants. It is the indigenous people of Assam who have become the target of ULFA violence today. The ULFA cadres have absolutely no qualms in killing their own people. The common man is fully aware that the government security mechanisms are totally incapable when it comes to protecting the layman from the threat of extortion and terror from the ULFA. The paranoia is so pervasive in the state that even politicians, who hardly ever venture out of their security cordons are scared stiff of speaking out openly against the ULFA. None among the journalistic fraternity are brave enough to stand up against the ULFA. Societal elders tread with utmost reticence whenever they mention ULFA in their statements and speeches. As a result, the only words of resentment against the ULFA are spoken in whispers among close friends. Speaking against the ULFA to a stranger is fraught with danger, as the person being spoken to may well be an ULFA member himself. I have yet to come across one sentence of vehement condemnation of ULFA’s activities or one statement renouncing the terrorist group by any individual, be it from the political circle or from the journalistic media. Even the All Assam Students Union and other student organizations prefer to lambast the government than risk saying or writing anything remotely insinuating against the ULFA. It is this paranoia that the ULFA is taking full advantage of. Under the ostensible objective of creating an independent country out of Assam, the ULFA leaders lead a lavish life in Bangladesh and are contributing to the economic prosperity of that country with money forcibly extorted from the people of Assam. It has become very easy for the terror groups in Bangladesh to operate in Assam with the help of the ULFA who know the terrain and the hideouts in the state so well. While all this continues to happen, no Assamese worth his salt can defy the ULFA in spite of the fact that ninety nine percent of Assamese are alienated from the ULFA and its evil designs. The prime reason for this is that the common people, the journalistic media and the business establishments are helpless. They would rather stand and watch than risk their lives, and maybe rightly so. Businessmen prefer to shell out money to these mercenaries than face their wrath. What then is the solution to this endless scourge? A mass revolution? Possibly. People will have to discard their fear and move as a mass against these terrorists, primarily the ULFA, because it is the ULFA who is responsible for providing encouragement and support to all the foreign terror groups to wreak havoc on Assam and its people. They (the ULFA) have taken refuge in the very country (Bangladesh) which has been the parasite in Assam’s flesh for decades. ULFA should be treated as all traitors should – without mercy. We will have to root out the evil from amongst our own people before we can tackle the external forces.



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