Characteristics of betrayers can’t nullify the principle of a revolutionary who laid down his life with martyrdom. History might not be repeated by itself, but history always names the uncompromising struggle and about the martyrs, not about the betrayers. Reluctantly, history is filled with about the betrayers too, but it always to ensure that betrayers are not to be honored but to be hated. And martyrs are always staged to be honored as history speaks itself.
While the entire world is about to celebrate the New Years’ event, Assam lost its one of the historic martyrs 22 years before on this same day. On the afternoon of December 31, 1991, ULFA’s the then Deputy Commander-in-Chief Heerak Jyoti Mahanta was arrested by Indian army and killed at Geetanagar Police station on the same night.
Heerak Jyoti Mahanta was the first Deputy Commander-in-Chief of ULFA, who became an influential revolutionary in the 1980s. Being from an aristocratic family, Captain Heerak Jyoti Mahanta was the best choice of ULFA’s Commander-in-Chief Paresh Baruah and General Secretary Anup Chetia, to gear up the armed revolution of Independence. The golden spoon taker by birth, Heerak became a man with excellent guerrilla tactics within a couple of months of his guerrilla training and he was ranked with the charge of Deputy Commander-in-Chief in his early youth age.
During the period of Presidency Rule in Assam in 1990, the Indian army was deployed to strike with counter-insurgency as ruled out by the Indian Union. Indian army launched Operation Bajrang against ULFA in November 1990 and carried out war against the people of Assam while it was dealing with counter-insurgency. The Indian Union was so sure of their success against that soon after Hiteswar Saikia took the oath as Chief Minister of Assam, Saikia declared, “ULFA is going to be finished within a few hours.” Hiteswar Saikia, who had been a mastermind of several counter-insurgency operations in India, had the game plan to eliminate ULFA’s Deputy Commander-in-Chief Heerak Jyoti Mahanta and General Secretary Anup Chetia, which could have been a massive strike to wipe out ULFA. So Heerak and Anup Chetia were on the list of “kill, not arrest” to foil ULFA’s armed struggle, and Indian army secretly launched a special operation to hunt Heerak and Anup Chetia.
Indian army missed Anup Chetia due to lack of their proper information in October 1991 but could launch a honey-trap for Heerak Jyoti Mahanta. And as result, Heerak Jyoti Mahanta was circled by his aides from October 1991, who were managed by army and intelligence. Probably, ULFA’s chief of the staff Paresh Baruah sensed the dirty politics of betrayer and trap of the army, so Paresh Baruah called Heerak to move to Bangladesh as an immediate action. Even so, before Heerak Jyoti Mahanta could move out from Assam, army succeeded to trap him in the home of intelligence sponsored Nripen Baruah of Geetanagar area in afternoon of December 31, 1991. After few minutes of gunfire, the dreaded guerrilla Heerak Jyoti Mahanta alias Jayanta Medhi alias Naren Deka lost his last battle as he had no route to escape from the enemy’s ambush. Army captured ULFA’s most-wanted Deputy Commander-in-Chief Heerak Jyoti Mahanta alive along with Akan Baishya and Dhruba Talukdar and took them away quickly to unknown place where top authorities of intelligence were about to take the final decision. Army and intelligence took no time to execute Indian Union’s decision to kill Heerak Jyoti Mahanta and arrange a fake encounter, and it was done immediately after Heerak’s arrest.
Captain Heerak Jyoti Mahanta was killed by army and Assam police top official and staged a drama of fake encounter by the early night of December 31, 1991.As the drama staged, the news was aired as, “ULFA’s Deputy Commander-in-Chief Heerak Jyoti Mahanta alias Jayanta Medhi is killed in Chandrapur while trying to escape from custody of the army. Mahanta led the army convoy convincing them to find huge amounts of weapons those were underground in Chandrapur hill area.”
Heerak Jyoti Mahanta was killed not because he was the second-in-command of ULFA, nor because he was the most dreaded guerrilla leader, he was killed because he was the barrier on the betrayers of his outfit who were about to leave the outfit and follow India’s dictate. Eliminating Heerak Jyoti Mahanta, the then Assam Chief Minister Hiteswar Saikia tried to stage a surrender to mainstream drama, which was failed only because of the killing of Heerak.
The Indian Union succeeded to eliminate Heerak Jyoti Mahanta but failed to eliminate him from the history of Assam as the Assamese nation always honoring him as the icon of uncompromising revolutionary principle.
Heerak Jyoti Mahanta was killed two decades before, but still a revolutionary icon, who can’t be wiped out because of the characteristics of some betrayer. One can ignore, but can’t nullify that Heerak Jyoti Mahanta is still considered as a heroic revolutionary in the history of Assam.
A terrorist marked by state propaganda is always a hero for his nation, which is obvious and history is evident.