United Liberation Front of Asom 'chairman' Arabinda Rajkhowa on Tuesday said he went to Pakistan when operation Bajrang was launched in Assam in 1990 but denied the group was backed by Islamic fundamentalists of that country.
"We did go to Pakistan during 'operation Bajrang. We went there because at that time, the situation was different. The enemy of an enemy is our friend. There was an Assam-India conflict," Rajkhowa said.
"Just because we went there, does not mean that Pakistan gave us weapons. Like other outfits, we acquired our weapons from various sources, including from arms dealers, other groups, etc. "Our organisation is against communalism and fundamentalism. Therefore, the question of us siding up with fundamentalist groups does not arise at all," he said, reacting to media reports about the ULFA being backed by Islamic fundamentalists.
"We not only went to Pakistan, but to Bangladesh, Bhutan and Myanmar. We also went to Europe and international bodies to garner support for our cause. Staying in a country does not mean that the country helped us," he said.
"There are also reports of China helping us. If such a big powerful country was helping us, then we would have long back made Assam independent," he said. Operation Bajrang was launched by the army on November 28, 1990 in Assam to flush out ULFA militants.
The ULFA chief also accused a section of the media of misquoting him and failing to clarify matters with him, vitiating the positive atmosphere for peace talks. "They have probably failed to grasp what I have spoken and that is spoiling the atmosphere for the peace process," he said.
"The media is independent and has the right to report on anything. But they should not spoil the atmosphere in their business interest. They should not misinterpret what we say," Rajkhowa said.
"This negative trend should not continue and instead a situation should be created for a positive outcome of the peace talks. This should be the most important duty of all at a time when the peace process has been put into motion for restoration of peace in Assam. "Today fulfillment of the people's interest here has become more important for us than anything else," he said.