At a time when Union Home Minster Amit Shah publicly stated that the menace of Naxalism will be over in the next three years, comes a revelation that the CPI Maoists had received two consignments of sophisticated weapons from Bangladesh between 2019 to 2022 through the northeast-based militant outfit United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA).
This was after Maoist Polit Bureau member and its military strategist, Koteshwara Rao alias Kishenji, secretly travelled to Dhaka sometime between 2019 to 2022 to meet proscribed ULFA’s co-founder Paresh Baruah, who is now believed to be hiding in Yunnan province of China, author Rajeev Bhattacharyya said during the release of his book ‘ULFA: The Mirage of Dawn’ here on Saturday.
In the chapter 8, titled as “The Dragon’s Thunder”, of the book, Bhattacharyya wrote; “A senior PWG (People’s War Group) functionary, Kishenji, who later became a politburo member of CPI(Moist) and the chief military strategist of the group, arrived in Dhaka after crossing the border in north West Bengal to purchase weapons from ULFA”.
Kishenji, however, was killed in an encounter with security forces in West Bengal sometime in 2011.
“Two consignments consisting of RDX, pistols and assault rifles were delivered to the group at convenient locations along the India-Bangladesh border in West Bengal. The third met with a mishap when the truck carrying the weapons was confiscated at Bograin Bangladesh. This incident made healdlines in the local media which also mentioned the possible involvement of the All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) in the episode,” the book read.
The launch of the book coincides with the Ministry of Home Affairs signing a tripartite agreement late last December with pro-talks faction of the ULFA but the outfit’s other group led by Paresh Baruah, known as ULFA-I, has stayed away from the peace process possibly because the outlaw continues to be under the Chinese influence.
“”ULFA: The Mirage of Dawn” is the outcome of extensive ground research stretching for over a decade. The assignment took me to Myanmar, Bangladesh, Bhutan, to different states of the Northeast and several times to Delhi to gather information. It was a topic much tougher than I had envisaged. My assessment that I would finish the research within three-four years was proved wrong. It took me more than a decade to wind it up,” Bhattacharyya told businessline.
According to the book, Baruah, who remains one of the most wanted militant, has survived four assassination attempts in Bangladesh. The first attempt had an assassin sent by the Special Branch of Assam police to target him at a ULFA camp in Bangladesh’s Satcherri. Baruah had left the camp before the assassin could attempt to take his life. Similarly, two more attempts were again made by Assam police’s henchmen but could not succeed. Even on the fourth time, the militant leader was lucky since he escaped unhurt when a boulder thrown at his car merely damaged its windscreen, the book stated to weave incisive details to capture the ULA’s armed struggle for a better understanding of insurgency in the northeast.
The author has also made public certain facts about the ULFA not known to many, given that the book offers some nugget of information to back Pakistan’s involvement in insurgency in the North East, which has been suspected for long. For instance, the book in other chapters said that between 1996 to 2004, Pakistan’s Lt General Prevez Kalyani, who later became chief of ISI, had met and shook hands with a batch of ULFA cadres whom they were giving training in their camps across the border on bomb-making and other weapon handling.
As early as 1991-92, Pakistan’s ISI had started training ULFA cadres to spread mayhem in Assam and other regions of the northeast. One ULFA batch was also taken to Tora Bora in Afghanistan for training, besides other northeast militant outfits like NDFB, PLA and AATF were also trained at different locations in Pakistan, the book stated.