R Dutta Choudhury
GUWAHATI, Nov 24 – Though the hard-line faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) declared a new 16-member central committee yesterday, the identity of the new acting chairman Dr Abhijit Barman has baffled everyone as no one is sure about the identity of the person.
Highly placed police sources told The Assam Tribune that the police or security agencies do not have any record about presence of such a person in the ULFA. The police has been keeping records of the leaders of the ULFA since the time of formation of the outfit and there is no record of a person named Dr Abhijit Barman, sources admitted. There has been no intelligence input about such a person joining the ULFA in recent times, which raised doubts about the existence of such a person, sources admitted.
Police said that after the new list was announced by the hard-line faction of the ULFA, efforts were made to ascertain whether any person by the name of Dr Abhijit Barman existed in the ULFA and no surrendered militant or members of the pro-talk group of the ULFA including those who recently joined the faction were not aware of presence of such a person.
Similarly, the police has no record on Dr Pranmoy Asom, who has been made the assistant foreign secretary by the hard-line faction of the ULFA. However, the police has records on the rest 14 of the 16-member committee.
Sources pointed out that only two of the original central committee members of the ULFA were included in the new committee. They are commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah, who has been given the additional responsibility of acting vice-chairman of the outfit, and Jiban Moran, who has been made the assistant general secretary.
Commenting on the strength of the hard-line faction of the ULFA, police sources said that most of those included in the 16-member committee were not prominent leaders of the outfit and there is a possibility that given a chance, most of them would join the pro-talk faction. “If Paresh Baruah sends members of the new committee to Assam, most of them will not go back to Myanmar,” police asserted.
Sources pointed out that in recent times, the hard-line faction of the ULFA , apart from issuing media releases, has not been able to do much and police has definite proof of Paresh Baruah requesting leaders of other militant groups of the region to help the ULFA to carry out operations. The hard-line faction also got in touch with a number of surrendered militants seeking their help, but it is unlikely that surrendered militants would take the risk of helping the ULFA.
Police said that Paresh Baruah himself started calling up people including prominent businessmen of Guwahati city seeking money. “It is unusual for commander-in-chief of a militant group to call up people directly asking for money and his action proved that the outfit is in desperate need of funds,” sources added.