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Friday, April 10, 2009

Decades of Terror in Assam: ULFA turns 30

It was exactly thirty years ago that the United Liberation Front of Asom or Assam (ULFA) was founded with the aim to establish an independent sovereign state through armed 'struggle'. The foundation day was April 7, 1979.

[Photo: ULFA's flag in Tinsukia in Assam]

And to mark its raising day, it again struck--serial blasts across the state on the eve of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit (that was cancelled) causing the death of 10 persons and injuries to 70 others.

Wasn't it an open and audacious challenge to the government? But that's hardly surprising given the dreaded outfit's history. On its official homepage, the outfit claims itself to be a revolutionary political organisation that aims to liberate 78,529 sq km of land illegally under Indian occupation.

The masterminds of the recent blasts were Pradeep Kalita, Akash Thapa and Mukunda Rajbongshi, police said. The deaths and destruction in North East generally goes unnoticed compared to rest of the India.

In the last 30 years, nearly 8,000-10,000 persons have died in the region due to clashes between militants [or terrorists] who prefer themselves to be called as revolutionaries. The figure of deaths is perhaps second to only LTTE that is now nearing its end in Sri Lanka.

ULFA rebels believe that historically Assam was never part of India. Over the years, the organisation has carried out assassinations, killed security forces' personnel and policemen apart from accusations of killing Hindi speaking labourers of UP and Bihar.

Though ULFA completed 30 years of its existence, no news channel focused on doing a comprehensive story or report about 'Thirty years of Terrorism'. Over a quarter century has passed but it's either mentioned as separatist outfit or rarely as militant group in mainstream media. Is it because Assam is way off Delhi or because there is no Muslim cadre in ULFA?

Regarding comments and 'Terrorism':

Kindly comment after reading the post properly. My issue is that on one hand an objectionable term 'Islamic terrorism' is used everywhere, other terrorists are not even called terrorists. ULFA, BODO, Naga, LTTE, Naxalites and Abhinav Bharat are not even called Terrorist.

I don't want them to be termed as Hindu or Christian terrorist, but at least call them terrorist.

But they remain OUTLAWS, MAOISTS, REBELS or at the most EXTREMISIS and MILITANTS. That's the basic issue. Is it that only a group that has Muslim cadre qualifies for the definition of Terrorist? Crores of Muslims aren't fools, as they notice this prejudice every day.

Read related post on Terrorism: Naxalites kill 15 but it's not terror: Image of terrorist in media


Iftikhar said...

I couldn't thought about ULFA. Abhi koi Musllim naam masla hota to din bhar chillate.

Anonymous said...

Who exactly is the brain behind ULFA? ISI

Where do most ULFA leaders get shelter? Bangladesh

Is it a surprise that these two nations have predominantly " the same religion " as mentioned by you in your last line.

indscribe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
indscribe said...


What about LTTE, any link to religion now?

(A) Naxalites who killed nine persons today in a blast including deputy commandent of SAF in Chhattisgarh, but the news no where reached front pages. Their religion!

(B) A paramilitary trooper was killed and 15 people injured on Friday when tribal separatists attacked a passenger train in Assam... from the outlawed Jewel Garlosa faction of the Dima Haolam Daoga (DHD), popularly known as the Black Widow, attacked the Barak Valley Express,...Times of India report...

Would you link it to Christians or what? Interestingly TOI report calls them 'separatists', the euphemism for terrorists, the tag reserve for a community.


Naga militants' connection?

So if there is a terror outfit that doesn't have Muslim cadre, you will bring in ISI and here also forgetting the hostile neighbour and enemy theory, you simply link it to religion. Wonderful.

And please don't post anonymously.

Vani said...

I know what you are saying. Had a Muslim thrown the shoe at P Chidambaram, he would be labelled a terrorist.

Anonymous said...

Until and unless you stop engaging in the Victimization game we can't have a logical debate over the issue...

Vani now that's some crazy comment. Let me put it this way. India has Hindus Muslims Sikhs Christians Jews Parsis Jain etc..

So indirectly what you are saying is that its not the govt.. or the Media who is doing this but the Hindu elements of it for a Muslim won't do it to a Muslim, a Sikh wont do it and others as per your thinking wont bother...

When people like you continue with such a mindset I pray to GOD to allow me to revisit the Past and stop Nehru from declaring INDIA a secular state. He should have declared it a Hindu state based on the majority religion.. Probably then you would not complain of any bias and stop pinning all the blame on Hindus.... Just coz we take it doesnt mean that you would keep on imposing it on us... Think rationally for once!!!

Islam And The West said...

@Anonymous there is a certain amount of a victm mentality amongst Muslims around the globe not only in India. How far this related to irrational or rational causes is debatable. What is not debatable is that Muslims constitute a minority within the Indian Republic.

If India wants to be accepted as a leading world power then the condition of its minorities irrespective of creed must also stand for inspection.

Yuyutsu said...

Adnan, I understand your sentiments that the entire religion is blamed for actions of a few. You are understandably and justifiably irked by this thoughtless 'branding'.

But the unfortunate fact is that none of these organizations (LTTE, ULFA et al) use religion to justify their 'goals', whereas LeT and their ilk do. What I mean is that I have never heard LTTE or ULFA fight for a 'Hindu' land. Nor do they quote verses from Gita or Vedas to prove their point.

All I'm saying is that Muslim terrorist organizations (mis)use Quran and religion for their purpose and hence the entire religion gets blamed.

Of course, media is to blame but then, they do a lot of stupid (and even criminal) reporting on a daily basis as they have to look at their bottom-line. And remember, they were shouting from roof-tops about 'Hindu terror' (when Pragya Singh case came up) and then they went to town about 'Hindu Taliban' (Mangalore attacks). The only reason they ignore ULFA is because it's far from Delhi and anyways, Delhi has never cared much for North East lives.

Anyways, I think the practitioners of Islam (and not the religion per se) need to share at least a part of the blame - playing a 'victim of conspiracy theory' (as many in Pakistan and wider Muslim world seem to be doing) won't help anyone.

A few disclaimers:
I'm not justifying any of these (ULFA, LTTE etc.) terrorist organizations, nor do I have any sympathy for them. Plus I, for one, don't believe that Islam as a whole is to be blamed for actions of a few. However, I do believe that at the end of the day, the responsibility for nipping these 'few' lies with the saner Muslim voices.

Yuyutsu said...

@Islam & the West:

A 20 crore population and still a minority? And who exactly is a majority in India anyways? Hindus are not a contiguous block - we are not Hindus but Brahmins, OBCs, Dalits, SC/STs and so on (as our parties very conveniently remind us all the time).

Also, I fail to understand how exactly being a minority is a hindrance (unless one's suggesting the Indian state is/has been targetting minorities). But then, one can accuse Indian state of a lot of things but it's 'fair' in its oppression - it's an 'equal opportunity' offender, so to say.

Islam And The West said...

@Yuyutsu I realise it will be difficult for you to understand what I am trying to elude to. I suggest you try a little experiment... try living the next 5 years of your life as a Muslim. Then come back to me and we can have an informed discussion. Until then your opinions are exactly just that opinions without any personal experience and not back up with any facts.

Yuyutsu said...

Well, to be honest, I was expecting a better answer than a convenient, hand-waving kind of 'you can never understand since you're not a minority'.

So, since, anyone who's not a Muslim can't understand anything, I guess any attempt at discussion is useless.

Anyways, in case, you want to have a logical discussion or even narrate some of your 'personal experiences' and 'backed up by facts' arguments, I'll be waiting. Do let me know if you want to get out of 'the whole world is against us and discriminates against us' mentality. (And sorry to be bursting the bubble, but honestly, the world has a lot of better things to do than to keep targeting Muslims).


PS: Funny, I never hear other minorities (Sikhs, Christians, Jains and even Parsis) say this inspite of their much smaller numbers.

Isma said...

Anonymous posting 'brain behind ULFA is ISI', it is high time India acknowledges it has terrorist within itself and the brain behind them are Indians as well. As long as the blame game continues both countries will continue to suffer in the hand of extremist Indians or extremist Pakistanis.

I read a line from an Indian blogger 'Mayur Vithalani' post under the topic 'It is a curse being a Indian Muslim and a Pakistani' where he writes "I was shocked when Earthquake happened in India on 26th January, 2001, when I heard few people who said, “Isme bhi Pakistan ka Haath hai.” We will accept that, Terrorist belongs to Pakistan. But; are we ready to accept that; there is existence of Indian Terrorists also.The accused who was caught in Lahore Blast yesterday, his name is Satish. He is Hindu, an Indian Citizen."

Amitabh said...

Have you noticed our communal force are not raising a voice against killing of Hindus (ULFA as per you blog) by the army? Strange.... They are now against Hindus also.... Dam these communal forces....:-)

Amitabh said...

Islam and the West.... Why don't you live in a Muslim dominant area as a Hindu for 1 years and then come for a debate?

Isma said...

@ Amitabh

Please visit U.A.E and see how peacefully the Hindus/Christians/Sikhs are living here, it is a Muslim country and a Muslim dominant country.

Amitabh said...

Isma.... Pl go through the link and especially the Section IV. U.S. Government Policy.

Isma said...

What link? =s

Amitabh said...


http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2005/51612.htmMoreover how much % of Muslims, Hindus, Christian etc are in U.A.E.?

Isma said...

First this report is of '2005' yes there are restrictions regarding public preaching of religion other than Islam, but complete freedom is given for practicing any religion they want including festivities (They openly celebrate holi, diwali, navratri,Vesakhi, raksha bandhan, Easter, Christmas and other festivities). There are Non-Halal foods available for them is super markets. I have lots of Hindu/Christian friends and have never even read any case in newspaper in which someone has faced discrimination because of there religion. You can even ask non-Muslim Indians if you know any residing in UAE.

Secondly I honestly don't have any idea of the percentage of Hindus/Christians/Sikhs or any other religion residing in Dubai,(I do know there are 'many' as have many friends in University).

You said 'live in a Muslim dominant area as a Hindu for one year and than come to debate' that is why I wrote UAE is a Muslim dominant country and nobody has ever complained about being discriminated against because of there religion.

Anonymous said...

LTTE are called Tamil terrorists and not Hindu terrorists. Why? Because their theme is based on Tamil rights, not Hindu rights. ULFA are Assamese terrorists. Their mode of division is based on Assam, not Hinduism. I can assure you, a Muslim kidnapper won't be called a muslim terrorist because his crime was not based on his religion. But if he does crime in the name of his religion, he will be called so.

Anonymous said...

Isma, you are kidding me right? UAE, and especially Saudi treat Hindus like @^#&. I happen to know all of these.

Muslim Social Networks said...

Interesting one and as well as the remarks of people and I think you people should visit the link too that I am sharing for fun and many more.

Ibu Sanjeeb Garg said...

Adnan bhai

Slight correction.There are lot of Muslim names in ULFA Munim Nobis was one of the dreaded few before he surrendered.

Local Muslims in Assam are differnt form the immigrants.The local Muslims of Assam share same titles like the Hindus like BOra,Hazarika etc.

They wear the same clothes.Assam's state religion is Vaisanavism which belives in monothiesm and opposes idolatry.The religious houses are called Namghars .

The Muslim brothers particiapte in that with equal fervour.As I said Assm is a differnt case from the rest of India

we all are Assamese first then HIndus and Muslims .

Infact when Mughals came to Assam they were saddended to see the Assamese mUslims.Who were Hinduised.But its not Hinuised its Assamesised.

We respect and follow Azan pir as much as we do sankardev

We are a cultural nation .:)

indscribe said...

Thanks Sanjeeb bhai....for this important piece of information. So little is known to us about regions within our own country....Shukria :)