With special investigation and inputs by our Special Correspondent from Dhaka, Bangladesh
When Arabinda Rajkhowa and other senior leaders of ULFA were released on bail to facilitate the Lateral talks process between the outlawed militant outfit demanding an Independent Asom and Government of India, there were big hopes and dreams in Assam. They were given a royal treatment by the people, millions welcomed them on the roads with flags and Gamochas, slogans of ULFA Jindabad were shouted at every street corner. All because the state tired and ravaged with insurgency saw it as a hope of bringing peace and solution back. For all this to happen, the most important aspect was the arrest of the senior ULFA leaders including Chairman Rajkhowa themselves. But how did Indian Intelligence succeed in making their biggest ever breakthrough at one shot? Times of Assam has now reliable information to tell you how this happened.
As mentioned earlier in the exclusive How Paresh Baruah escaped from Bangladesh, when India supported Awami League was about to form the new Government in Bangladesh, ULFA’s jailed General Secretary Anup Chetia had warned his comrades about the possibility of an offensive against the outfit’s members in Bangladesh. Even ULFA’s high profile informers within Bangladesh Intelligence had warned them and advised to take safe shelter. However except Paresh Baruah, all others including Chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa ignored these warnings. Lebu alias Phanidhar Medhi, who was by then a full-fledged spy of Indian Intelligence and close associate to Khagen Sharma passed on this information to his bosses in RAW. Understanding that Rajkhowa has little cover left, the Indian intelligence started working on the plan. The strong political leadership team of Tarun Gogoi, Debananda Konwar and Bijoy Krishna Handique together teamed up with Rajkhowa’s brother Ajay Rajkonwar and started influencing Rajkhowa with help of Lebu. Kaberi Kachari Rajkonwar, wife of Arabinda Rajkhowa and very arrogant by her nature was also influenced in the process. Lebu continued with the task of updating RAW the different ways to influence the ULFA leadership and how would accept what kind of carrot. It is reported that during these initial days of influencing the ULFA leaders, several crores of money was passed across the border as bribe to give up the struggle. Sources within the outfit has accused that most of the top ULFA leadership, including Kaberi Kachari, Raju Baruah and Lebu himself are now millionaires. However they have been hiding this fact and living simpler life in order to avoid public anger, it is claimed.
As days passed, the situation became grimmer for the ULFA leadership in Bangladesh but barring Paresh Baruah no one was willing to leave their family and children behind this time. Hence they stayed. About a month before Arabinda Rajkhowa was actually reported to be arrested, RAW had actually taken Rajkhowa in custody respectfully, – as claimed by inside sources. This incident was however spread by RAW as a handiwork of Paresh Baruah. It is yet secret what was discussed between Rajkhowa and RAW, but he was freed after 24 hours. Immediately after getting released, Rajkhowa went to the camps of Sherpur & Chot Gajani and started influencing the leaders and cadres about negotiations with Government of India. Here it was found that there were some hard-core idealists who were not willing to compromise, such as Antu Chaodang, Rubel and Pradip Rai alias Deepjyoti Mahanta. All of them were captured later on with help of Lebu and none of them today are part of the Lateral talks process in spite of being senior leaders themselves.
The RAW had set up certain time limits to Rajkhowa and his followers within which Shasha Choudhury and Chitraban Hazarika were captured as planned. Once this time limit was over and when RAW officials came to know that their main target Paresh Baruah has escaped, the final steps were left. Accordingly, the families of Arabinda Rajkhowa, Shasha Choudhary, Raju Baruah along with Lebu and Raja Borah(Rajkhowa’s driver) went out on a holiday outing all together to Chittagong. Here, they were arrested from a hotel as planned or surrendered as many inside the outfit now claim. Rajkhowa and his followers were deported across the border to India but Lebu stayed behind. His task assigned by RAW officials this time was to take the cadres in the Sherpur camp across the border to Assam which eh successfully executed.
In the history of Guerrilla warfare across the world, there has been never a case where so many top leaders of a rebel group were arrested in such a manner, which clearly proves that this was planned and not a sudden arrest. It is indeed strange that when they had gone for a holiday outing, Paresh Baruah and Anup Chetia’s families were not included although stayed in the same city. Furthermore, the very fact that they could go for holidaying luxury when their cadres died with hunger or malaria in extreme terrains fighting for Independence tells the true shape of the outfit. It is also to be mentioned here that Shasha Choudhary is said to have not been actually working for the outfit at all for years. He was running his own textile business at Gajipur of Bangladesh and had repeatedly expressed to cadres earlier that he was with the outfit only because he was riding a tiger from which he cannot get down. Incidently, the Foreign Relations wing of the outfit had been un-operational for a long time after Anup Chetia was jailed in 1997. It is now learnt that the outfit has revived this wing strongly under command of Dr. Pranmoy Asom and receiving aid from two foreign countries already.
So how the next dramas were carried out by Arabinda Rajkhowa and his followers? How and when Lebu alias Phanidhar Medhi was managed by Indian Intelligence? What accusation was framed against Raja Borah by Kaberi Kachari Rajkonwar?? Stay connected with Times of Assam to get unfolded about the Truth, because Truth is not that what we often use to see or hear.
To be continued…