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ULFA leader's mother sad, angry

G Vinayak in Upper Assam | December 18, 2003 20:37 IST

Miliki Baruah, the 89-year-old mother of United Liberation Front of Asom commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah, is a sad lady today.

She blames the authorities for not making any sincere efforts to bring the ULFA to the negotiating table, and severely criticises the so-called 'overground' supporters of the outfit.

"Where are all those people who instigated and supported my son and his colleagues to take up arms in the first place?" she asks, sitting in her humble house in Upper Assam's Tinsukia district. "Today they are all keeping mum, waiting to see which side the wind blows, whether the ULFA is going to be finished."

The outfit faces its biggest setback in a decade with the Bhutan army smashing its camps in the jungles of the Himalayan Kingdom.

The lady says she and her other family members face frequent harassment from the authorities. "One day police will come, next day military will arrive. My youngest son got murdered only because he was Paresh Baruah's brother. When will these dark days end?" she asks with tears in her eyes.

She says her house has been attacked twice, and blames the state government for not trying to bring ULFA boys home.

"They come and tell me I should appeal to my son to return home. I ask, 'did I send him underground? I have not seen my boy ever since he left home in the early 1980s.'"

She says she is not happy with what her son is doing. "I was proud when he used to do a job in the railways and used to bring back a decent salary. Today I am sad, always afraid and fear for my other sons' lives."

Two of Paresh's brothers, ironically, have government jobs. The eldest, Bimal Chandra, is a civilian employee in the Army Supply Corps while the one next to him, Pradip, works in the Military Engineering Services. The youngest, Dinesh, who got a job in the railways through the sports quota, was found dead after unidentified gunmen took him away on February 19, 1994.

Bimal echoes his mother's sentiments. "Those who fought together in the Assam agitation against foreigners should have stayed together, but one section garnered political power and the other went underground," he says. "Those who got political power are today silent."

The old lady, who is still sharp and has very forthright views on the Assam situation, is not hopeful of seeing her son again. "I have not seen him since he left the house and don't think will ever see him again. I had never dreamt he would do such a thing."

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