Mirage Of Dawn. When Pakistan Armed, Trained Assam Insurgents ULFA And Sent Them Back To India

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When Pak Armed, Trained Assam Insurgents And Sent Them Back To India

Rajeev Bhattacharyya’s account delves into all major episodes linked to the ULFA

New Delhi:

Pakistan armed and trained the first batch of insurgents of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) in 1991-92, and sent them back to India to stir trouble in the northeast region, according to writer and researcher Rajeev Bhattacharyya, whose latest work details the untold story of the outlawed separatist outfit.

Between 1996 and 2004, insurgents from outfits in the northeast such as the NDFB, PLA, and ATTF were trained at different locations in Pakistan with a focus on assembling bombs through sophisticated technology, Mr Bhattacharyya says in ‘ULFA: The Mirage of Dawn’, based on interviews with ULFA members in the northeast, Myanmar, Bangladesh, former officers engaged in counter-insurgency operations, as well as papers of ULFA leaders.

“It is estimated that around a hundred rebel functionaries had received the training during this period. One ULFA batch was also taken to Tora Bora in Afghanistan for training. The modules offered to the rebel groups were of different durations, ranging from 17 days to three months,” Mr Bhattacharyya says in the book.

“The first batch of ULFA militants was trained in Pakistan in 1991-92 in three groups comprising a total of about 40 functionaries. One group was trained near Peshawar and other functionaries were taken for short visits to Kandahar in Afghanistan and the arms bazaar at Darra Adam Khel near the Safed Koh mountains in Pakistan,” he says in the book.

Pakistan’s Lieutenant General Asfaq Pervez Kayani, who was later appointed chief of the espionage agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), interacted and shook hands with a batch of ULFA functionaries when they were undergoing training in the country, Mr Bhattacharyya says. Lt General Kayani succeeded General Pervez Musharraf as Pakistan’s army chief in 2007.

Mr Bhattacharyya’s account delves into all major episodes, delineates their causes and effects, and debunks interpretations about the ULFA.

The part about ULFA (Independent) chief Paresh Baruah surviving four assassination attempts in Bangladesh would be of great interest to researchers.

“The first attempt was made at ULFA’s camp in Bangladesh’s Satcherri when an assassin was sent by Special Branch of Assam police to kill Baruah. However, he escaped from the camp before he could pull the trigger,” Mr Bhattacharyya says.

“The second attempt was made by a senior officer of the Assam Police, who got in touch with a criminal syndicate in Bangladesh to gun down Baruah, which failed. The same officer had also convinced an ULFA functionary turned mole named Munna Mishra to cross the border into Bangladesh and target Baruah. This attempt proved futile as well…” Mr Bhattacharyya says.

The fourth attempt was in Dhaka when a boulder was hurled by an unknown person at Baruah at a crowded place in the car he was travelling. Baruah escaped unhurt, although the windscreen of the vehicle was damaged.

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