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ULFA abandons talks, warns full-scale battle
September 17, 2007 14:18 IST
Trouble is brewing in Assam. Asking people to gear up for more violence, the United Liberation Front of Asom has claimed they are abandoning the peace process and preparing for a full-scale armed struggle.
In a statement in its mouthpiece Freedom, the ULFA for the first time revealed that chairman Aurobindo Rajkhowa and commander-in-chief Paresh Bara would have agreed on negotiations had the peace talk moved ahead.
"But instead, the government has once again played the old game and scuttled the peace process. The issue of national rights and dignity was repeatedly trifled. The ULFA could not swallow this. There was no alternative, but harder struggle," the outfit said.
The Army claimed that facing the heat from security forces in the upper Assam districts, the ULFA is now raising a new battalion in Karbi Anglong district, taking advantage of the low presence of the armed forces.
"They are now trying to raise the 27th battalion in Karbi Anglong," Major Gen N C Marwah, GoC of the 2 Mountain Division, which has jurisdiction over seven Upper Assam districts and two in Arunachal Pradesh, told visiting newspersons at the division headquarters.
Army sources said following intensified counter-insurgency operations in the Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Jorhat, Golaghat and Sonitpur districts, ULFA cadres were taking shelter in Karbi Anglong because of the low presence of the security forces there.
The district had emerged as a preferred hideout for the banned outfit because of its hard terrain, dense forests, hilly tracts and rivers, besides its proximity to Bangladesh that allowed easy access to that country, they said.
"'Karbi Anglong was a lost district in the sense that literacy and awareness level was extremely low. Besides, a large number of insurgent outfits championing the cause of various tribals were also operating there," they said.
ULFA's 28th battalion, comprising the A, B and C companies, was also active in Upper Assam, Lt Col A Chaturvedi of the 19 Kumaon Regiment deployed in Tinsukia said.
The 'A' company is active in Tinsukia district, the 'B' company covers Sibsagar, Jorhat and Golaghat, while the 'C' company works in Dibrugarh, Nalbari, Dhemaji and parts of Tinsukia. The A and C companies have a total strength of 150.