Who does the ULFA represent exactly

A bit of a background first for people who do not have CCCF (Conceptual Clarity and Contextual Familiarity) on the subject. ULFA or the United Liberation Front of Assam is a terrorist organization. It was founded in 1979 by members of the AASU (All Assam

Students Union) to act like a Robinhood-esqe outfit that would implement a socialist structure in the state of Assam and also drive away all ‘foreigners’ which basically means non-Assamese inhabitants of Assam like Bengalis (particularly the ones who had come to Assam

after the partition of Bangladesh), Marwaris and Biharis. The logic was of the ULFA leaders and their supporters, whether armed or just the regular guy, was simple, and one oft-repeated by most such xenophobic groups; the ‘foreigners’ have taken a hold on our land, they run the offices, they own the shops and businesses and we can let this happen, we can’t let them ‘rule’ us and therefore we want them out of the state. You can see similar sentiments echoed by MNS too and by the Nazis. The ULFA wanted a separate sovereign ‘country’ of Assam which would have a socialist government and where no ‘foreigners’ would be allowed.

In the initial days, they enjoyed great popularity as they extorted

 money from the rich and ‘supposedly’ distributed among the poor Assamese people.It received arms and ammunition from the  Kachin Independence Army(KIA), a terrorist organization in Myanmar(then Burma) and the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland(NSCN). By the late 80s it had launched a bloody campaign against non Assamese with willful killings, bombings, executions and kidnappings. It was declared a terrorist organization in 1984 by the Government of India under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act of 1967.

Most of the above information has been gathered from Wikipedia and other online sources (because I wasn’t even born then) and little bit from what I learnt growing up as a kid. I still remember, when I was around 8 or 10, my mom asking me to lower my voice when I mentioned the name ‘Ulfa’ in a public place; I was a kid then and I didn’t really understand. Growing up, ULFA has been synonymous to me with bombing and killings. In Assam, not a day passes without some bombing somewhere, and if you are lucky to be in the state capital(Dispur/Guwahati) or in Upper Assam, where the ULFA has a stronger hold, your town would pretty much regularly make up the above statistics of 1 bombing a week. Sometimes, one bombing a week is not enough (particularly if there has been a lull for long in which case the ULFA needs to set the statistics right) and so you can have serial bombings a day, even in the very same city/town.

Fast Forward to mid 90s (the time I can remember); everything before that is a little hazy as I was too young then to remember or comprehend much. By now, the old animosities and xenophobia between Assamese and Bengalis (and Marwaris who owned most of the businesses and were rich) were fast vanishing. A new generation had grown up, with people like myself (I am a Bengali), who did not see any difference between the Bengali kid in the playground and the Assamese kid beyond the fact that those kids had a funny accent and their food was little different, a little less spicy. Among the grownups too, things had mellowed down considerably. An Assamese girl marrying a Bengali guy (or vice versa) was no longer the catastrophe that it was considered to be; yes eyebrows were raised but it wasn’t that much of a big deal. The three communities (Assamese, Bengalis and Marwaris) invited each other in their festivals and things had gotten much much better. Of course, there was the occasional xenophobe on either side or the racist teacher or two at school, but his/her influence was much reduced by now. This may not be the complete picture of things, but this is how I, a kid growing up in those times, saw and heard it.

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Also the ULFA had taken to planting bombs at markets, Independence day parades, buses; name a public place and they had planted a bomb there. By now, their targets were no more Bengalis or Marwaris, Assamese too were victim of their attacks. They had lost much of their support among the people and their only means to stay in the minds of the people was unbridled terror. Blasts at Durga Puja pandals were common and they would even call up doctors to warn them before hand and dare them to prevent it. Bandhs were regular, and shops would be destroyed if they remained open. A flag outside your house on Independence Day could invite their wrath. Rampant extortion from  and kidnapping of rich businessman , high ranking officials of the very few businesses that existed in Assam (or their family members) or just about anyone who bought a new car (even a Maruti 800) resulted in dwindling support for this outfit. By the end of the 90s, they were a nuisance at best and a public enemy at worse. Of course, they still had links with some of the political parties. Nevertheless, military offensive against them were at a all time high and it’s key leaders had long taken to living across the border in neighbouring Bangladesh; living in the country of the same Bangladeshis they wanted to drive out, an irony if there ever was one.

The only way now to remain relevant was to carry out blasts across the state and once in a while raise the issue of driving out illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, a genuine concern of the people or the occasional violence against Biharis, who had settled in the state in good number doing mostly marginal jobs like barbers and small time shop keepers. Operation All Clear and Operation Rhino 2 carried out by the Indian state against the ULFA in co-operation with Myanmar since 2003 had been particularly effective. Rattled by the offensive of the Indian Army, the ULFA called for a truce, brokered by eminent people including Mamoni Raisom Goswami, to get to the negotiation table, in the meanwhile buying time to either flee the country or prepare for more terrorist activities. Once their farce was caught, the talks broke and the Indian Army resumed its operations against the ULFA. Besides, diplomatic channels with Bangladesh were used.ULFA Chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa, deputy military chief Raju Barua, finance secretary Chitraban Hazarika and foreign secretary Sashadhar Choudhury and Rajkhowa’s bodyguard Raja Bora were arrested in tacit co-operation with Bangladesh and the Indian government is pushing for more arrests right now.

As things stand now, the ULFA has called for a truce again. They have drawn their agenda and a list of demands asking for more autonomy in the state, something similar to J&K. I am not sure how these talks will work out but it sure is a nice change from constant fear of bomb blasts.

But the larger question is, who are the ULFA negotiating for? Is it the people of Assam? Do the people of Assam want secession from the Indian state or even partial autonomy? Do the people of Assam truly think of themselves as not a part of India? Does the average Assamese, who now increasingly send their kids to study in Bangalore, Kolkata, Delhi and Mumbai really think of the non-Assamese as foreigners? Does the average Assamese youth who is very likely doing a job at some IT firm down south think of India as a country hostile to their interests? Does the average Assamese think it necessary to get the UN involved in resolving issues with the Indian Union as the ULFA has demanded? Does the average Assamese think that Assam will be safer if the arrested ULFA cadres and their leaders are released?

The way I see it, and most people of Assam would agree, the ULFA do not represent the wishes of the people of Assam in any way whatsoever. They are a terrorist outfit, a cause of decades of fear in the minds of the people and responsible for over 20,000 deaths. They don’t deserve a truce; they deserve a bullet between their eyes, humanitarian considerations be damned. It is because of them that businesses are afraid to operate in the state, it is because of them that shops and restaurants close by 9pm in most places of Assam. It is because of them that a lot of innocent lives have been lost, irrespective of which language those dead bodies spoke. The peace talks, therefore are a farce. If factions can gain legitimacy and the right to decide for a entire state just by the power of the gun, then I am really worried for the future of my country. You cannot let every other terrorist group speak on behalf of the people. Guns and bombs don’t build consensus.

Yes, Assam does have a lot of problem. Lack of development, high unemployment  and poverty are the major ones (more on the development issues in another post I suppose). But we don’t need a ULFA to fix that up. They are part of the problem, not the solution.

In this peace talk, they are representing their own interests and not that of the people of Assam. And we don’t need nor want them to talk on our behalf. Period.

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35 thoughts on “Who does the ULFA represent exactly

  1. Hey, Didn’t know much about this domain… thanks for telling me about it. And so very well described. I always thought everything is quite everywhere else too. A real good one. And to see it from the guy who has been there so long,is much better. Keep them coming 🙂

  2. Good to see a post from you about Assam.I have few points to add:

    “They don’t deserve a truce; they deserve a bullet between their eyes, humanitarian considerations be damned”.

    If it is possible to prosecute all the ULFA cadres, then the problem is uprooted automatically. But pragmatically it is not possible. There are thousands of cadres still running amok, waiting for instructions from both factions of the group to cause devastation in the state. It is almost impossible to sweep the whole terrorist group away from Assam. Even in 2011, after so many heinous crimes, Arobindo Rajkhowa is welcomed in rural Assam and his rallies are attended by thousands of people in Kakopathar,Lakwa,Barbarua,Moran,Amguri etc. They still have mass support though it is less in urban areas. If you see, the main reason for origin of such organization is economic suppression. When an area is well developed, when people has jobs and works to do, they pay less attention for such activities. Industrializations will automatically solve the problem. Hence the Govt. initiative to tame the ULFA through negotiation, discussion is welcomed. It will create a stable, peaceful Assam, a lucrative place for setting up industries after GoA reduced tax burden in case of new industrial set up.

    “In Assam, not a day passes without some bombing somewhere, and if you are lucky to be in the state capital(Dispur/Guwahati) or in Upper Assam, where the ULFA has a stronger hold, your town would pretty much regularly make up the above statistics of 1 bombing a day. Sometimes, one bombing a day is not enough (particularly if there has been a lull for long in which case the ULFA needs to set the statistics right) and so you can have 5-6 bombings a day, even in the very same city/town.”

    Looks like u r trying to put spices in the facts. It is not the ground realities. 1 bombing a day is just exaggeration.Having such a vast networks of entrepreneurs and professionals, your blog will create a wrong impression about Assam and in turn abate the possibility of new investment by business entities.

    • I know that you can’t every ULFA member. That’s not the right thing to do either. A lot of them are youth who could not get a job. So killing them will not really solve the problem. But yes, the leaders cannot and should not be spared. I was not aware of the extent of rural support ULFA gets. Sorry for that. I have been away from Assam for more than 6 years now, so yeah I guess I am a little detached from the ground realities, particularly in rural and upper Assam (as I spent most of my life in Tezpur). And you are right that Assam needs industrialization to spruce up supply of jobs but with terrorism being there, its a little tough.

      And my ‘1 bombing a day’ figure is exaggerated, I agree. Wasn’t trying to spice up things, but was just too lazy to find actual stats. Anyways, Wikipedia,which is probably more reliable than most Assamese newspapers, says (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_Assam_bombings) there have been “605 bomb blasts in the last 8 years” which is roughly 0.2 blasts a day or approx 1 blast a week (assuming ULFA takes the weekends off 😉 ). However, serial bomb blast do happen there. In May 2010 itself (when I was at home), there were 4 blasts in Guwahati in a span of an hour, one just outside my dad’s office, a few hundred metres away from my home. But yes, I will correct the figure. Don’t want to present a grim picture.

  3. I do agree that ULFA has some bit of support from the rural Assam and to know the fact one need not be born in either villages or upper Assam. Anyway, media here has a greater role to play. The larger chunks of people from Assam today are not the supporters of ULFA. It is the media that hyped the supporters to attract larger audience which in a way increases the popularity of the media.
    Also while discussing length and breadth about ULFA the culprit behind threats and disturbances In Assam gets hidden underneath. Why do they hardly come for discussion and debates? Yes,here I am talking about the surrendered ULFA’s. Today they have become an important element in a situation of armed politics and business in Assam. They armed with vast amounts of ill gotten money conducting so called ‘business’ with forays into property development, constructions etc.
    The worst part is that these members were allowed to retain their weapons to defend themselves against their former colleagues and were offered bank loans without any liabilities which are being at many times misused and the innocent gets victimized.

    • Surrendered ULFA is of course another problem. They are responsible for a lot of violence too. And yes, many of them benefited from government largess and now run profitable businesses and still have a lot of ‘clout’ because of their past associations.

  4. Y do we need to speak to ulfa.who r they.who gave them d authority to speak on behalf of d ppl.we have a democratically elected govt.we didnt elect d jungle barbarians.who have killed thousands.made hundreds orphan.shattered dreams of happy families.y do they need mercy n VIP treatment.they have always understood d language of d bullets n bombs.give it to them.asking forgiveness for klilling d children in dhemaji not bring back d dead.ask d parents hw they feel.
    .try them under d Indian penal code. Exemplary punishment so tat no1 picks up gun for every small grievance..is d govt listening to d voice of d ppl or d animals…we need to make our voice heard loud n clear.

  5. The ULFA came out for a good cause(no one can deny that) but the problem they had and still have is no knowledge of how a revolution is DONE!!!!!! THEY ARE ALL IDIOTS ASPIRANTS WHO BEHAVE LIKE UNEDUCATED……… you must not kill the very people for whom they say they are fighting for….. they should kill indian army, politicians against Assam and do charity type work for people of Assam….. why don’t they kill bangladeshis….!!!!!
    this is not the way how to achieve sovereignty ……… they ARE taking away freedom not giving freedom….. they must change their ideology and methods………by the way what about N.D.F.B….???

    • Well from what I know about the origins of ULFA, their agenda was to bring about a socialist government in Assam, secede from the union of India and self governance, drive out ‘foreigners’ and to achieve all of the above, extort money from the rich (correct me if I am wrong). I don’t think any of these are good causes; misguided and foolish,yes; good,no.

      Also I dont see why how killing Indian Army personnel is a good thing? And while, illegal immigration from Bangladesh is a serious cause of concern and Assam surely cannot bear any more population, killing Bangladeshis is not a solution.

      I don’t Assam needs to secede from India. We are as free as people anywhere in India. What we need is stability and peace. And for that, the dozens of terrorist groups (including NDFB) has to stop or they have to be ended, by force if need be.

  6. Brother, all of them have a cause be it N.D.F.B or U.L.F.A exterminating them isn’t a good idea because they have fanatically mad followers they will attempt to become the next U.L.F.A……..(besides not all cadres can be killed) regarding N.D.F.B a solution for them not just the U.L.F.A is needed………
    i have never supported their idea of independence i was just explaining what they could have done the proper way to achieve sovereignty. i never supported this “independent Assam theory” because we already are independent what more do we need….besides the basic human rights and the right to protect our culture ……

    with NDFB i wana add up that, Assam government must initiate peace talks ASAP with them to get a democratic solution because this whole NDFB issue is degrading Assam unity (i.e, bodos with non bodos) you know some people just blindly say NDFB is more evil than ULFA where as ULFA has killed more people, these has hurt the Bodo sentiment (evil can’t be calculated, killing 1 innocent person is as evil as killing 5 innocent person)………

    • I will agree with you on that. A fair hearing can be given to NDFB but again there is no reason to agree to their demand of a separate Boroland. Such a separate entity won’t be able to stand up on its feet. Its just that NDFB leaders want more power. Bring them to the negotiation table, get them to drop arms and ask them to fight with the ballot and not the bullet.

  7. Socialism is not bad if done properly it sure can work in Assam but communism wouldn’t. you know most people don’t understand the difference between communism and socialism. … one of the basic difference that socialism has is that it in a way is a “very very heavily censored capitalism”….

  8. Bodoland demand was started because of the discrimination faced by the Bodos along with other tribles from the then Assamese. It was not initiated by NDFB or any terrorist group but by Bodo public mostly students….

  9. Sahi Mr. Dev, very informative article, I didn’t have much idea about the initial agendas of ULFA. Only democratic solution can be a sustainable one in this case as they have some supports from the public but I feel political will is missing here. I still remember one statement by Shivraj Patil after a serial bomb blast in Assam that the incident was not new for the state (means everything was normal). This sense of normalcy is a very big issue which needs to addressed before it is too late. Also government of India should wake up for the right of minorities as soon as possible otherwise there would always be self-proclaimed well-wishers of public who just hijack the common people’s agendas and use it as a mask to serve their own purpose. This is one of the reasons of resurgence of Naxalism too.

  10. ULFA had and still has a lot of rural and small town support from the Assamese people, especially upwards from Mariani. The people still believe that the organisation is a messaiah to the cause of Assamese self determination. On a purely theoretical level, it is, but not in the way the rural people would understand.

    Anyway, I think the Assamese people need a revolution of some sorts. Not to get rid of the Bengalis or Marwaris (which is akin to barking up the wrong tree, so to speak), but to be more assertive in the political and economic representation of the Assamese people in a country dominated by cow belt politics and ideologies.

  11. I dont know who the hell are you and who permitted you to talk like this, but you are wrong in your analysis. Why did you just mentioned about the wrong doings of the ULFA , did the Indian Union do no wrong with Assam ? Arbinda Rajkhowa, Paresh Boruah, Bhimkanta Borgohain etc were no fools to form a revolutionary organisation, knowing that this could even lead to their death, they left their youth days to fight for sovereign Assam. Why didnt you mentioned in your article that thousands of innocent boys and girls were picked up by the Indian Army and innumerable atrocities were meted out to them. The Bengalis, Marwaris, Biharis come to Assam only to full their coffers, do business and neglect the Assamese people in their homeland. This cant be acceptable. You bengalis have a state and a country, i.e. West Bengal & Bangladesh for u. But we Assamese dont have any other living space other than Assam, so we have full right and authority to think whats better for us. You dont need to meddle in our affairs. You talk of Assamese boys and girls going out of Assam for work, why will they not go ? All the govt jobs and private jobs in Assam are filled with you people. By not going out of Assam do you want us to stay like 2nd class citizen in our own homeland ? The general Assamese masses also knows that Independence of Assam is not possible, but atleast we want more Autonomy, J&K style autonomy. When you dont have any knowledge about the history, problems and overall scenario of Assam, dont write absurd things.

    • Let me answer your question one at a time.

      1. Who the hell am I? I am an Assamese (whose mother tongue is Bengali) and an Indian
      2. Who permitted me to talk like this? India is a democracy, remember? We don’t require permission to express our views.
      3. As for the great sacrifices of Arabinda Rajkhowa and group, I am not sure how killing innocents counts either as bravery or sacrifice.
      4. Assam is a part of India just like any other state. And Indians are free to move across state boundaries whether to do business, or study or work. Do the people of Assam not work in Delhi or Mumbai or Bangalore?
      5. I am not sure how you come to the conclusion that all Bengalis should settle in either West Bengal or Bangladesh. My hometown Tezpur has a good mental hospital. I suggest you check in there.
      6. Assamese people are today living all around the country and the world. I am not sure how you come to the conclusion that Assamese have no other place to live besides Assam. Ask any Assamese who lives outside Assam and they would disagree with your myopic view of the world.
      7. Assamese people are well represented in both govt and private organizations in Assam. Oh yes, if the ULFA menace wasn’t there, I bet there would be more private companies in Assam. Some of those companies might even hire idiots like you.
      8. I never said people of Assam should not go to other states to work. They absolutely should, if they want to. Besides, there aren’t many jobs available in Assam anyways because of terrorism. Thankfully, terrorism and their supporters like you are fast declining and hopefully Assam will soon take a path towards economic progress.
      9. More autonomy? What autonomy are you talking about? Assam has all the autonomy that ever other Indian state has. However, if the autonomy you require is for ULFA to kill innocents Assamese, that’s not happening dude
      10. Do you know the meaning of 2nd class citizens? What exactly aren’t you allowed to do in the state? Are you out of your mind? I guess you are.
      11. As for Assamese history, I did learn quite a bit of it at school (and I bet I scored more than you did at history). As for Assam’s problem, again I believe I know better. Did I mention that I had brought up Assam’s energy problems and offered some solutions for the same during at presentation (and later submitted it as a part of a report) to Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam for one of my courses at IIM Ahmedabad? He said he would write about the same to the PMO.

      You are a hypocratic xenophobe and people like you hold back the development of the state by supporting groups like ULFA. However, when I wrote this post I did expect some comments like yours and since I value freedom of speech I had to approve it.

      • oi mr sandip dev u listen properly u commented everything there …..but why don’t you comment on the human rights violation by the Indian Army in the North East…………why don’t u say something about that? And yes every indigenous people in Assam will get constitutional autonomy because we have the right to preserve our culture and identity…and also our population is not as much as other indian states so we deserve special protection such as constitutional autonomy…and every indigenous people supports the constitutional autonomy and protection of the indigenous people and the indigenous languages …….u do not know anything about assam and u try to call yourself assamese huh? u stay outside assam so it does not concern u got it….you are not an assamese… infact if u know history u will know the fact that bongalis tried to destroy assamese culture during the british era by trying to enforce bongali everywhere in assam……….it is because my assamese people fought to preserve the assamese culture and language they were able to preserve the assamese language and culture…….and it is written in the constitution that every1 has the right to preserve their culture……and why dont u speak about the racism that assamese and north eastern people face in main land india huh?…..u only speak about one side of the story ……in your eyes everything is black and white…….why dont u see the reality which is always grey?.there is always two sides to a story…why dont u talk about the fake encounters by the indian army which has led to the death of so many innocent north eastern youths….moi tuk ji koisu toi ebar bhal ke bhabilo………..at the same time i am not denying the fact that ULFA was also responsible for certain crimes but you cannot turn a blind eye to the human rights violation by the indian army…………toi ene ene bokki thakat ke………asol situation tu gompailo tar pasot comment koribi,………….gompaiso? i am a youth from assam………..and guess what majority of the youth support constitutional autonomy for the indigenous people …………

        • Let me answer you point wise. I hope you have the attention span to read it all.

          1. “why don’t you comment on the human rights violation by the Indian Army in the North East” – This piece was about ULFA and their atrocities and not about the Indian army and it’s conduct. If the ULFA didn’t exist there would be no reason for such huge military presence in the state. Stop the bomb blast and then I am sure the army will move out. If they don’t, I will not just write another blog post, I will come and protest.

          2. “indigenous people in Assam will get constitutional autonomy because we have the right to preserve our culture and identity” – Please define constitutional autonomy? Are you telling me that people in states which do not have this ‘constitutional autonomy’ that you refer to, are not able to preserve their culture? I have lived in quite a few states by now and I have seen that the culture of each of those states are quite intact. Rather, I would ask you to give me instances of how you think Assamese culture is getting eroded.

          3. “also our population is not as much as other indian states so we deserve special protection “- You really need to get your facts right here. Assam has a population of 31,169,272 (http://www.indiaonlinepages.com/population/india-current-population.html) making it the 14th most populous state in India among 28 states and 7 UTs. That’s not a small number. Out of this 57% are Assamese speakers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assam#cite_note-70); so if we considered only the Assamese people the state would still be the 18th most populous state. So I don’t see how and what form of protection you are talking about here. If that were so, then the government would also have to extend “protection” to 14 other states and 7 other UTs. Funny that, on one hand you think the Indian state is interfering in Assam and in the same breath you also ask for protection.

          4. “u do not know anything about assam and u try to call yourself assamese ” – I do know quite a bit about Assam. Probably not as much as I would like to but well enough to comment on certain things. And yes I am an Assamese as much as I am a Bengali and an Indian. I call Assam my home and I don’t need the approval of a half literate uncouth idiotic xenophobic hate-monger like yours approval for that. I hope you got that.

          5. “u stay outside assam so it does not concern u got it….you are not an assamese” – Yes and No. Yes I stay outside Assam but my family stays there and I was born and brought up in Assam. And No, it does concern me because it’s my home. Do you mean to suggest that any Assamese living outside Assam should not comment on Assam? And I don’t think you doing Assam a favor by staying there, just look at the economic indicators or health indicators. We are not doing well in any of those areas, so please enlighten me how your staying in Assam is helping the place.

          6. “infact if u know history u will know the fact that bongalis tried to destroy assamese culture during the british era by trying to enforce bongali everywhere in assam……….it is because my assamese people fought to preserve the assamese culture and language they were able to preserve the assamese language and culture” – Yes I do know history and I don’t think our versions are the same. But if you think ULFA killing non-Assamese is a way of correcting historical wrongs and is therefore justified, I am sure then you will also agree to the demolition of the Babri Masjid or Pakistan’s claim on Kashmir and the fallout of it or China’s claim on Arunachal and Siachen.

          7. “and why dont u speak about the racism that assamese and north eastern people face in main land india huh?…..u only speak about one side of the story ……in your eyes everything is black and white” – Again, we are going off topic here. I was talking about ULFA and not about every problem under the sun that we face. Yes, racism is a problem but I would prefer to leave it to another dedicated post.

          8.”why dont u talk about the fake encounters by the indian army which has led to the death of so many innocent north eastern youths” – I guess I should, probably some other post. But how does that justify the ULFA killing innocents is beyond my logic. May be you can elaborate.

          9. “and guess what majority of the youth support constitutional autonomy for the indigenous people ” – While I am not sure what you mean by “constitutional autonomy” but neither you nor I make majority or can speak for all of Assam. Considering that we have regular elections where sizeable number of people turn up to vote, I believe the people of Assam are quite happy with all that the Indian constitution has to provide.

          As a final word, lets get this straight; you don’t get to tell me what place I should or should not consider as my home.

      • Shabir Akhtar is muslim . Muslim always want divide india . I agree with san deep every hindu sikhs Buddhist have right to any where in the country accept muslim if divide every state in india it will still weaker I think so many living in different if ask autonomy it will be like one more pakistan or bangladesh in pakistan hindu and Sikh were regularly raped and treat like third class citizen .

  12. i am not justifying the killings by ULFA…………..innocent people should not be killed no matter where are they from…………….but yes constitutional autonomy is required and by constitutional autonomy we mean exclusive land rights and control of resources to the indigeneous people of assam including the tribals of assam…………….just like how Meghalaya and the rest of the North East are given………..inner line permit should also be given……………u see constitutional autonomy is the only way to prevent illegal immigration got it?…………………..i am a part of students organisation here in Axom so i will be knowing more about the dynamics of my homeland………you on the other hand stay outside Assam and you have not contributed anything to Assam…………and u talk about me being an illiterate? Guess what i am a graduate from London School of Economics………i studied executive global MBA called TRIUM in LSE…………..unlike you who just wants to fill your wallets…………i decided to come to my place and work for the upliftment of indigenous Assamese people and indigenous tribal people…………and on your issue of why ULFA was formed…………because the center neglected Axom and its indigineous people…………….

  13. And guess what u Bongalis are soo racist and xenophobic with the tripuris in the tripura its really sad………….u people point out the mistakes of others but you do not point out your own mistakes……….and guess what even in West Bengal u people discriminate our North East people…………..write an article on that…………

  14. and ya you should mention about the racism and discrimination that we north eastern face by hate mongers and xenophobes of main land india……………..India takes way Oil from Assam and yet in assam we pay more for oil then Delhi………..do u know that? Oil in Delhi is cheaper then Assam! Its quiet ironic that My state of Assam is giving oil and oil is extracted from here yet we pay more for petrol then the people of delhi……….and yes u should also write an article about the exploitation of resources by the center in the North East…………..

    • And what purpose will such “constitutional autonomy” (which is one of the demands of the ULFA) serve? The reason for lack of development here is not the absense of constitutional autonomy; we are as autonomous as any other state in the country and those states, like Gujarat, are doing pretty well for themselves. The reason we are underdeveloped are two – corruption and terrorism. It is because of corruption that most of the money for public projects go into the pockets of our ministers. And it is because of terrorism that private businesses are afraid to set shop here.

      Sure you can demand your version of constitutional autonomy where all jobs only go to what you call ‘indigenous people’ and only ‘indigenous people’ can possess land. Go ahead. Very soon other states, like Maharastra, Karnataka etc would demand the same. Then instead of a country called India we will end up with distinct states with no movement of people. Great vision you have for the country.

      I am not sure what kind of constitutional autonomy Meghalaya or other NE states have, but it does not seem to have served them well. All these states lag behind most other Indian states (including Assam) in economic and health indices. So, pardon me if I do not share your baseless optimism with “constitutional autonomy”

      As for illegal immigration, it can be prevented if there is political will, I don’t see how constitutional autonomy will do away with illegal immigrants. We need better security at the borders and hopefully the UUID project will help further in preventing illegal immigration.

      As for Bengalis being racist, I fully agree with you. In fact, there are racist everywhere irrespective of the language they speak. However, the point is, this post wasn’t about any of that, this was about ULFA and it’s detrimental effect on Assam. This post isn’t about Bengali versus Assamese and how one set of people are more or less righteous than the other. Some of my best friends are Assamese (and some Marwaris) and language has never been a factor among us and never will be. It is only some xenophobes like yourself on either side, Bengali or Assamese, who get into this pissing contest as to which language is superior. For me language is just a means of communication and nothing more.

      As for the prices of oil in Assam and Delhi, I think you should probably blame the state govt for that and not allude it to some evil conspiracy of the centre against Assam. You need to get factual and look at the tax structure levied on petrol in Delhi and Assam. I am sure you will find that it is actually state rather than central taxes that is the reason for the higher price. I would expect someone who claims he has a MBA from LSE to know this.

      So you are part of a student’s organization, is it? AASU? Anyways, so what have you done as part of this organization? My experience with most students organizations, whether Assam or elsewhere, is that they are infested by goons who have very little to do with student life or education. Why don’t you look into the dismal standard of SEBA or AHSEC and their criminally outdated syllabus? Why don’t you look into the bribery that goes on for seats in engineering and medical colleges there? Why don’t you look into the dismal checking of board exam papers which ruins the future of many students every year? Why dont you do something about the massive detrimental politicization of student elections in the state colleges? What about improving the standards of AEC, JEC, GMC etc? None of these would require constitutional autonomy to get done.

      And btw, I know quite a few alumnis of LSE and HEC Paris. Give me your student ID and I shall verify, because you sure don’t write like a LSE grad; IIPM grad may be but not LSE. If you really are a LSE grad, you should have no problem in providing a link to your LinkedIn profile. And yes, I had called you semi-literate, not iliterate.

  15. First of all Assam’s population is less compared to other states………Assam’s population is at 3 crore ……….while states like west bengal have a population of 9 crore……….state like bihar also around 10 crore etc etc…….so basically Assam is only 3 % of India’s total population………so Assam’s population just being around 3 crore……………the indigenous people of Assam will have to get special autonomy from the center………….and yes all of the indigenous Assamese and Tribal people in Assam will get constitutional autonomy and we shall ask for constitutional autonomy………………………second of all i don’t need to prove it to you where i have graduated from……i know that i passed out from LSE..you might call me semi literate but at the end of the day i will be laughing cause you Mr Sandip…you are just wasting you’re time thinking that you are the most educated person….when in reality you’re not even smart..because in you’re eyes a person who has a difference of opinion from you…you call them illiterates or semi literate which is wrong…. when in reality the people having an opinion different from you are more qualified and smarter then you are …. you do not even know the real facts it looks like you’re the fool who is semi literate………and thirdly you say that constitutional autonomy does not work out? HAHA u ignorant fool come to Shillong and go visit Meghalaya …… people are soo content and happy………..go visit Arunachal pradesh………..people are very contented and happy……….go visit Mizoram……go visit Sikkim and see how constitutional autonomy has helped these states and people there are very happy and contented……..states of Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Sikkim you will not find people taking up arms because they have constitutional autonomy….these respected states have exclusive land rights……and the Goverment has also provided these beautiful states with inner line permit….even migrants from other parts of India will have to have a local business person as a business partner to set up business in these states….constitutional autonomy given to these states is a good thing……and even the indigenous Assamese and Tribals of Assam will have to get these Constitutional Autonomy…and we will demand for constitutional autonomy…….

  16. Hello Sandip, I am an Assamese living abroad. I read your article. Feels good to see your concerns for Assam. But, I object to your comment when you say, “….beyond the fact that those kids had a funny accent and their food was little different, a little less spicy.” Was it really relevant to present the facts? Do you think your accent (Indian, I presume!) is applauded all across the world? Different people from different communities speak the same language in different accent. A Chinese person speaks English in a completely different way from a Korean does. Similarly, Australian (English) accent is way different from a typical American one I am really shocked that a well-meaning person like you could not understand this simple fact of life. I don’t expect a reply from you. But, being polite (and not casting taunting remarks at others!) can also be a good and strong way for putting one’s views across. Thank you again.

    Partha P Das
    Cincinnati, Ohio USA

    • That (funny accent/different food) was a reference to how I, as a child, saw it. You wouldn’t expect kids to understand much beyond that.
      Even Bengalis have an accent which I find pronounced when I talk to my friends from West Bengal. It was in no way a taunt at anyone. Hope that clears the air. And happy Durga Puja dada 🙂

  17. well u may be right about what ULFA have become and which doesn’t exist anymore except in print media, but about the ideology and the reason for ULFA being there i disagree with what ever you have presented as

    1) anyone familiar to Assam ‘andollan’ or Assam movement would know the condition of rural Assamese indigenous folks and their economic conditions in those times. Assam being a very rich state in minerals ,oils and natural products couldn’t benefit from these advantages economically, due to negligence of the state.

    2) The dissident among the indigenous people about the influx of illegal immigrants and siphoning of state resources without proper compensation and distribution led to a secessionist movement which was non violent at the beginning.

    3) Bhimkanta Buragohain was an ideologue of the ‘revolutionary'(it was a normal party and due to negligence and apathy of the govt became a revolutionary one ) organization was an educated and enlightened person.Paresh Barua worked in railway from 1978 to 1982, and for Oil India Limited at Duliajan for some time(these were govt org)

    4) what media portrays , and where you have collected most of your ‘compiled’ data from lacks the actual sentiments of the rural mass which the government shielded from the country and educated folks like yourself.

    5)Assam have lost some of its brightest and vocal youths who joined the movement during there college days, if time permits try and visit Guawahati university campus and you will know some thing about history of ULFA during there birth years.

    6) Well the history books are written by the winners , had the policies and the politically motive of ULFA been successful, it would have been heralded as one of the movements to be talked about.

    • Thanks for the additions Kangkan. Quite honestly i dont know much about Assam andolan or the origin of ULFA. Also being a bengali my views may have some bias, albeit inadvertantly. You are right that not much mainstream info is available about them which leaves glaring loopholes in my knowledge of the matter too.

      If you could write a post expanding on this, i would surely post it on my blog under your name

  18. Mr. Sandip. I am a Bengali from kamrup. See, the points u have mentioned is not all true. Indeed, there was discrimination from the mainland country, whether it be racial or economic towards people of this region. A few decades ago, Axom, being scarcely populated was rapidly exploited. What would have those intelligent people (West Bengalis, Marowaris, Biharis….) lost had they given some equal share of the benefits they reaped here, to the our axomiya or tribal brothers who mostly were extremely simple living. Had our ancestors given equal oppurtunity to the Axomiya brothers, this issue of Axomiya-Bongali conflict would not have arised today, perhaps. I myself have witnessed the attitude West Bengal people possess for Assam. It is sad. At the time of crisis in 1950s, our host community (Axomiyas) received us. It was our responsibility to work for Assam and work for them, by our intellectualship. Instead, some rascals started to incite hatred and wedge among us and out host community.

    And to my Axomiya brothers, I wud like to say that not all Bongalis are like that. Look at me, I don’t give a damn to west bengal. Assam is my mother, my father and my everything. Assam nourished me. She opened her arms to receive my grandparents when they were getting bashed in east Bengal due to partition. I love Axomiya culture and have already integrated into it. I am longing to work for the upliftment of its people . Only if I get a oppurtunity. I dont need to draw my allegiance to kolkata, Bombay or Delhi or chennai. I am not here for making money and sending it back home (like Marwaris or beharis or whatever). Its my home. I have nowhere to go. what I earn here, I sacrifice it here. For me, AXOM FIRST, AXOM SECOND and AXOM THIRD, anything else after that. Thank you.

    • Oh man. Yes I think I got a lot wrong on this post. I wrote this in 2011 and my views have changed quite a bit since. This post, in retrospect, was more of a rant than an actual evaluation of facts on the ground. So yeah, you will find a lot of holes in this.

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