Guwahati: A news report claiming United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah dying in an accident left intelligence agencies perplexed on Wednesday. Hours after a report appeared on an online news magazine, 'Look East' suggesting that Baruah met with an accident near the China-Myanmar border and later succumbed to his injuries, ULFA issued a statement refuting the report.
The statement issued by ULFA read, "We, the United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent), have noticed that a fake news with regard to our vice chairman cum chief of staff hon'ble Major General Paresh Baruah Asom Sir has been circulated in a section of media about his so-called accident and death. We would like to clarify to our freedom loving people of Asom that our leader is safe and sound and has not met with an accident. This is a hoax message being spread by people with vested interest. We appeal to the people of Asom not to believe in this kind of propaganda regarding our leader in future."
However, officers within the special branch of Assam Police suggested that they had enough inputs that suggest that Baruah had met with an accident recently and was not keeping well due to high blood sugar, but could corroborate reports of his death.
"We had heard of Baruah meeting with an accident while he was on a bike in the hilly terrain of China-Myanmar border close to two-three months back. We are also aware of him suffering from high blood sugar. At the same time, we also had inputs that suggested that he was recovering. Today when we heard of news reports of his death, we got in touch with other intelligence and security agencies but none of them has confirmed the news of his death," said Pallab Bhattacharya, Special DG, Special Branch, Assam Police.
On the other hand, ULFA pro-talk faction's General Secretary, Anup Chetia claimed that the news of Baruah's death was not true. "I do not believe news of his death, these reports are not true. I am aware that he met with an accident about three months back in Ruili while he was on a motorcycle. Since then, he has called me up several times and told me that he was recovering. He told me that he fractured his bones and a toe. I received a call from him last Sunday but could not answer it as I was in a meeting," said Chetia.
In a recently held meeting between Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Zhao Kezhi, China's State Councilor and Minister of Public Security, India had asked China to not shelter Baruah. However, China had later dismissed all allegations of sheltering him.