R Dutta Choudhury
GUWAHATI, Aug 31 – The Chinese connection of the militants of North East has come to light yet again with the security agencies coming across some vital information of United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) commander-in-chief Paresh Barua receiving visa to visit China.Highly placed security sources told The Assam Tribune that the security agencies recently came across information that Barua received a visa to visit China in January this year for a period of six months and the visa was stamped on the Bangladeshi passport used by him in the name of Kamrul Zaman. However, the security agencies are not aware whether the term of the visa has been extended or not, sources admitted.
Sources pointed out that it is not for the first time that a militant leader of the North East has visited China. Paresh Barua himself visited China on a number of occasions in the past, while other members of the ULFA also visited that country immediately after the formation of the ULFA. The leaders of other militant groups of NE also visited China on a number of occasions even in recent times.
Most of the militant groups of the North East use weapons dumped by the Chinese Army as part of its modernization process. The militants are procuring the same from the clandestine arms dealers and “so far we do not have information about any involvement of Chinese Government official in providing weapons to the militants,” sources added.
Meanwhile, security sources admitted that the Government is not aware of the present whereabouts of Paresh Barua. Sources said that the possibility of the militant leader staying in China cannot be ruled out, but he may also stay in Pakistan or in Myanmar as he has very good contacts in all these three countries. However, it is not possible for the ULFA leader to stay in Bangladesh as he has been named as an accused in the arms haul case and even in a case relating to a conspiracy to eliminate Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. He may pay a short visit to Bangladesh, but it will not be possible for him to stay in that country under the present regime, sources added.
Earlier, the security agencies could keep track of the movements of the ULFA leader because his telephone calls could be intercepted. But now the militant leader has become more careful following the arrests of several top leaders of the outfit including chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa and he rarely makes telephone calls and communicates only through emails. Some of the emails have been intercepted by the security agencies and it is a fact that he is in constant touch with hardcore ULFA men and his close associates like Antu Chowdang and Jiban Moran.
Sources revealed that Barua is trying to protect and revive the organization following the recent setbacks and the cadres are receiving instructions from the hardcore leaders not to come in contact with the leaders who are reportedly adopting a soft stand on the issue of talks with the Government.
Sources also admitted that despite assurances, the Government of Myanmar is yet to launch full-scale operations against the militants staying in that country. “India Government is investing huge amounts of money in various infrastructure development projects including roads and power projects with the hope that Myanmar would launch a crackdown on the ultras sooner or later. But so far, the Myanmar Government only launched offensive against the ultras whenever a meeting with India was due, to create an impression,” sources admitted.