There is a strong belief within the people of North East as well as within Security & Defense circles of India that there are only three main Secessionist leaders of the region who are still standing strong without compromising with the Union Government of India. They are Paresh Baruah alias Paresh Asom of ULFA(I), Rajkumar Meghen of UNLF(In Custody & serving Prison Term) and SS Khaplang of NSCN(K). All three have been instrumental in waging a several decade long insurgency against the Indian Establishment for want of Independent Homelands of Assam, Manipur and Nagalim respectively.
Meghen is in Indian Custody, Khaplang is known to be ill with age and the only widely known leader left active is Paresh Baruah. There has been notion that once Paresh Baruah gives up his stand or is captured or killed, the struggle of ULFA (and to a large extent that of UNLFW) will be over. ULFA (I) has learnt to have understood this and have been working towards internally to create strong successors of Paresh Baruah or other able leaders who are not only strong in military affairs but also in International Diplomacy.
From several reliable sources as well as with Interaction between former rebels (Pro-Talk Faction of ULFA) as well as those within the underground, Times of Assam has got to know that the next able Leader within ULFA(I) being groomed is none other than ULFA(I)’s self-styled Captain Arunodoy Asom. Arunodoy is known to be a hardcore militant leader with strongest Diplomatic skills the outfit has ever developed. Further, he is reported to be having a huge follower base within the underground as well as over ground cadres and cells of the outfit. Paresh Baruah himself is known to be treating Arunodoy Asom like his own Son and this has further helped the younger leader to be groomed in Hardcore Guerrilla Tactics as well as International Diplomacy related to Foreign Affairs, in which he is made to have made a good mark within the organization.
It is to be mentioned that as per sources, Indian Intelligence till date does not have the current whereabouts or even a picture of Arunodoy Asom. In fact, Intelligence agencies are believed to be referring wrongly the picture of another ULFA(I) Captain Montu Gogoi as the photograph of Arunodoy Asom which has given an edge to the elusive hardcore militant.
However the sources also suggested various foul play at work within the outfit to kill and stop the rise of ULFA(I)’s self-styled Captain Arunodoy Asom from becoming the next Paresh Baruah. The RAW and Indian Intelligence also is known to be working towards annihilation of this militant and only time will reflect if Arunodoy faces the same fate as that of Late Heerak Jyoti Mahanta, arguably the most popular ULFA Leader (Deputy C-in-C of ULFA in the late eighties and early nineties) who was killed on the night of 31 December, 1991.
Anirban Kalita is Executive Editor of News Section. His role is also involved with reviewing, editing of articles before publishing.
By academic Anirban is MTech of Computer Science & Technology.