ULFA denies DGFI, ISI links
Published: 2013-08-08 12:38:17.0 BdST Updated: 2013-08-08 13:08:59.0 BdST
The separatist United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) has denied any link with Bangladesh's military intelligence agency, DGFI.
"We have no links with the DGFI or the ISI. These two are intelligence agencies of Pakistan and Bangladesh respectively," ULFA's new chairman Abhizeet Asom told 'Far Eastern Review', a new English weekly published from Assam.
The weekly's second issue hit the stands on Thursday.
But the rebel chairman did not rule out 'tactical relationship'.
"We are acutely aware of who is what. For the cause of Assam’s sovereignty we can consider using them advantageously," Abhizeet Asom said.
"But, we cannot allow them to use us," he reminded the weekly's editors Ripunjoy Das and Rajeeb Datta, who interviewed him.
Abhizeet Asom took over as the chairman of the ULFA after its former incumbent Arabinda Rajkhowa (real name: Rajiv Rajkonwar) was nabbed in Bangladesh and handed over to India in December 2009.
Though Rajkhowa initially said he would not surrender, the rebel leaders decided to start a political dialogue with India by giving up the demand for Assam's independence and by accepting Assam as part of India.
Many top ULFA leaders including those nabbed in Bangladesh and pushed back by the Hasina's government joined Rajkhowa joined the peace process.
But a hardline faction led by the ULFA's military wing chief Paresh Barua installed Abhizeet Barman as chairman and decided to continue the armed insurrection against India that had started in 1979.
Later the faction decided to impose the surname 'Asom' on all the leaders and activists -- so Barman and Barua are now called Abhizeet Asom and Paresh Asom in the party's correspondence.
ULFA-watchers sat that was to cut down on caste and ethnic identities that affected the 'greater Assamese identity' that ULFA stands for -- and to make things more difficult for Indian intelligence.
Little is known about Abhizeet Asom's background but speculations are rife that he was a medical practitioner before he went underground.
This is the first time his picture has appeared with his interview, though with a scarf wrapped across his face.
"We are not opposed to talks and negotiations but we can go ahead only if India agrees to discuss the issue of Assam's sovereignty," Abhizeet Asom said.
Celebrated journalist-author Bertil Lintner has detailed ULFA-DGFI links during the Ershad regime and the BNP's government in his recent blockbuster 'Great Game East'.
That includes a vivid description of his meeting up ULFA leaders in what he describes as a 'DGFI safehouse in Dhaka'.
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