About two years ago, when the world was made to believe that the LTTE is destroyed forever and their Supremo Vellupillai Prabhakaran was dead, there was an article published in a vernacular newspaper of Assam criticizing and and illustrating how and why the LTTE had failed. It was written none other than by Paresh Baruah, the C-in-C of ULFA and the way the article was written showcased the ULFA supremo’s self proclaimed expertise in leading an armed conflict. But a study of the actions of Paresh Baruah now finds him to be a militant leader who has himself drawn a lot of inspiration from the LTTE , but had never succeeded in doing or achieving what the LTTE was able to.
Years earlier, when Vellupillai Prabhakaran formed the suicide squad in LTTE, the most dreaded wing of the outfit the first name that was enrolled in that squad was Prabhakaran ’s name himself. The second name, more ironically, was that of his daughter’s! This stand had its effect,- the LTTE cadres were swiped apart with emotion to see their supreme commander ready to sacrifice himself and even his own daughter for the sake of the Tamil Nation. The suicide squad soon grew stronger and stronger with continuous flow of Tamil youth joining it. Being appealed by LTTE’s idea of a suicide squad to create maximum destruction, Paresh Baruah too tried to form a suicide squad within ULFA. But neither did he have the courage to put his name nor the name of any of his close family members into the suicide squad. The only member of the outfit who volunteered to join the squad was the then commander of the most dreaded 28th Battalion, Tapan Baruah. However with Tapan Baruah too being killed in a conspiracy in 2002, the suicide squad idea just failed for ULFA.
In recent times, Paresh Baruah is found to be following Prabhakaran once again, this time in the case of giving roles and responsibilities within the outfit to his children. Just as Prabhakaran induced his son trained in aeronautical engineering from the USA as the leader of a new air force wing of the outfit, Paresh Baruah too has induced his son Ankur Khan Sunglee as the publicity head of the outfit, working under cover with alias name as Arunudoy Dohotiya. But there is a vast difference between the actions of Baruah and Prabhakaran. Prabhakaran had brought his children through hardcore guerrilla training from the grass root level and compelled them to learn their way up to senior position holders in the outfit. Baruah, on the other hand, has simply made his son Ankur the head of publicity and given him the designation of 2nd Lieutenant in the outfit without any field level experience whatsoever. Even with the recent action of producing pictures and video footage of himself and some of his loyal comrades of ULFA, Paresh Baruah seemed to be following Prabhakaran. The Tamil Leader had long kept himself and his family visible to the public through pictures and videos to create a public identity, although act this was against guerrilla fighting tactics. It seems Baruah too realized the need to overthrow his image of mystery man and bringing out a public image just like Prabhakaran. But here again, Baruah provided long shots only of self and did not have the courage to produce any picture or video of his son, unlike Prabhakaran.
The designation of 2nd Lieutenant in the military wings of ULFA, equivalent to the Sub Lieutenant post in Indian Army, has always been considered a respected post in the outfit which provides 2 security personel, for which cadres had to undergo deadly armed operations and several years of experience to achieve. But disrespecting all such history within the outfit, Paresh Baruah made his son a 2nd Lieutenant, just because he was privileged enough to be the son of the C-in-C! In fact Baruah’s son, Ankur alias Arunudoy Dohotiya, with no experience of public relations, armed fighting or even any direct knowledge of his motherland Assam is already showing immaturity in the several press releases sent to media; case in point, he engaged in verbal duels through print media with Dr Hiren Gohain, one of the most honored and proven intellectual in Assam.
With half measured attempts to follow the LTTE and Prabhakaran, Paresh Baruah is only showing that he is neither a fearless fighter nor a self less revolutionary. By forming the suicide squad but having no courage to enroll himself or his children the way Prabhakaran did, Baruah proved that he can only lead from the back and not from the front, a person who could only make use of others for his own personal gains. When ULFA struggle itself is on the edge with majority fraction of the outfit wanting to talk with the Government to bring a honorable solution to the three decade long armed struggle, Paresh Baruah’s stand on continuing with fighting and his attempt at creating a process of dynastic succession in ULFA leadership by giving powers to his young immature son, proves that he is no longer fighting for his motherland Assam, but only a indulged in a lone attempt of personal aspirations.