By- Priyanuj Gohain
While entire Assam is holding its breath for the peace talks between Government and ULFA leaders to officially commence in few days, the most debated question has been whether the talks would be fruitful without ULFA C-in-C Paresh Baruah fraction participating in the same. There is no doubt that Paresh Baruah’s actual involvement in the talks was important, – but the avid question is why exactly he has kept himself away from the process although there was a scope of discussing Sovereignty of Assam in the name of unconditional talks.
One the best footballers that Assam had produced, Paresh Baruah himself had opposed the decision to hold the National games in Assam, an event which would have promoted not only sports but also tourism and a chance for economic growth. So much so that the several retired and current sportsmen had to request Baruah publicly for lifting the ban on the games. Although ULFA had later taken back their ban on the games respecting public appeal, there were reports which stated that a huge amount of money was paid by the Government to the outfit.
Paresh Baruah has been quoted as a hard nut, a merciless rebel highly esteemed in the International spree and he has been able to hide from every intelligence agency of the world in spite of being a World’s Most Wanted. At one end when hardcore rebel leaders like Prabhakaran of LTTE, could not escape from Intelligence and was traced when even Bin Laden was traced on occasions, Baruah has been living in complete secrecy. A trait which has bewildered Government, Intelligence agencies of the world throughout the years and decade. He had successfully positioned himself as a mystery man, an enigma. But to do this, he had cut himself off completely from his organization’s grass root and middle leadership level, the most important section for driving a tight organization. Due to his self created a mysterious image, Baruah has unknowingly created only a Frankenstein.
Baruah’s extra-merciless attitude, his bashing of Assamese Intellectuals at various periods of time (example the recent media conflict with Dr. Hiren Gohain) has only set him back with regards to public relations. In fact, he has never been able to explain the killing his own nephew who was also a cadre of the outfit, carried at Baruah’s orders for yet unknown reasons. The question is if his own elder sister cannot have a reason for her son’s killing, what stand does others, – the common people stand for an explanation or at least a condolence all the killings that have ripped Assam due to violence’s carried out at his orders. This very Mercenary character of Baruah has hit him badly and his public appeal has suffered a huge unrecoverable loss. However, he seems to have understood this of late and is now trying hard to make amends by publishing his own photos and videos of Bihu dancing (an appeal to showcase himself as a common Assamese).
A few years back, when Prabhakaran and LTTE were wiped away, there was an article published in a vernacular newspaper of Assam. The article depicted and illustrated how and why the LTTE had failed and it was written none other than by Paresh Baruah himself. And now when ULFA struggle itself is on the edge, can the same man analyze his own acts and organization is not only constitutional terms but also in terms of future strategy, diplomatic and political policy.
At this critical situation when suffering of the population has reached its heights, – lack of employment, lack of democracy, peaks of corruption, the abuse of human rights, the pseudo-economic growth, skyrocketing cost of living, ethnic clashes and lack of justice, the common people is only looking with hopeful eyes at the pro-talk ULFA leadership to gain & bring some conclusive peace and rights to the cause of Assam. Whether this last hope washes away or succeeds, it depends on the actions of the Paresh Baruah Fraction as well.
Although Baruah keeps on making big claims, whether he truly represents the blood of those 12,000 martyrs of Assam who has sacrificed their lives in this armed struggle will be proved only when he comes together with the current Assamese aspiration for peace and conclusion. But if he chooses to continue with more bloodshed, violence and stray away from public aspirations once again, it will prove that he has only been blinded by the power alone, not love for the motherland. This is what Late Parag Kumar Das alerted ULFA about a long time back, – the abuse of Power gained through Money and Gun.