|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
'Missing' ULFA leaders' wives on fast
K Anurag in Guwahati | March 29, 2007 12:31 IST
They were giving headache to security forces and the government while they were holding guns in the name of armed revolution led by the United Liberation Front of Assam and now their wives are creating big trouble for Assam government as their 'rebel' husbands (ULFA members) have been 'missing' since December 2003 after the anti-ULFA operation in Bhutan by the Royal Bhutan Army.
The wives of five ULFA leaders -- Ashanta Baghphukan, Ponaram Dihingia alias Prakash Gogoi, Naba Changmai alias Muhi Dihingia, Bening Rabha and Nilu Chakrabarty -- who had gone 'missing' since 'Operation All Clear' launched against the outfit by the Royal Bhutan Army in December 2003, had been on an indefinite hunger strike since March 21.
The women had earlier approached the state government to know whereabouts of their husbands. They had even knocked at the doors of the high court for respite after their appeals to the government apparently fell on deaf ears.
The wives of ULFA leaders in their habeas corpus petition filed before the court claimed that their husbands were handed over to Indian Army after they had been apprehended by the Royal Bhutan Army in December 2003, but since then they had remained untraced.
The Guwahati High Court has since directed the Central government as well as the state government to submit information about the missing insurgent leaders. The court set March 30 next as deadline for submission of information by Delhi as well as the state government of Assam.
Meanwhile, with the fast-unto-death entering the 9th day on Thursday, the health of the agitating women was showing signs of deterioration as informed by doctors attending them.
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has made appeal to the striking women to withdraw their fast even as the state government made a statement in Assam assembly on Wednesday promising to put up its best effort to trace the 'missing' ULFA leaders.
The chief minister on Wednesday deputed three of his ministers DR Bhumidhar Barman, Dr Himanta Biswa Sharma and Ripun Bora to meet the fasting women and try and persuade them to withdraw their hunger strike.
A number of organisations, including Manab Adhikar Sangram Samiti and Citizen's Peace Forum, Assam, called on the striking women. The organizations have appealed to the government to make known the whereabouts of the 'missing' ULFA leaders and have also drawn up plans for taking the matter to the highest levels, including the United Nations.