No peace talks under handcuffs: Rajkhowa

Last Updated: Sunday, December 6, 2009 - 00:30

Guwahati: Produced in handcuffs, top ULFA leaders Arabinda Rajkhowa and Raju Baruah on Saturday resented their treatment by the police and vowed "never to surrender" as another leader Paresh Baruah said dialogue is possible only with sovereignty on the agenda.

Rajkhowa, Baruah and Raja Borah, who were picked up along
with their family on Indo-Bangladesh border yesterday, were
produced in a court to face legal process in a 1998 case and
were remanded to 12 days police custody.

ULFA `chairman` Rajkhowa and `deputy commander-in-chief
Raju Baruah were brought with handcuffs in one of the hands,
connected to a police-held rope and they made no secret of
their anger.

After the brief remand proceedings, both the leaders
claimed they have not surrendered before the Indian
authorities and that they were "betrayed" by Bangladesh.

"We have not surrendered and there can be no talks with
handcuffs on. Bangladesh has betrayed us. We have to be
free. We want peace, but not in this way," Rajkhowa shouted to
newsmen before being taken away after production.

"We should have worn the garland of victory and come,
but we had to come with handcuffs on. We have not surrendered
and will never ever surrender," he said.

Paresh Baruah, who is believed to be in Myanmar and who
had yesterday asked Rajkhowa not to fall into the government`s
trap of dialogue, today denied there was any split in the
organisation he had "full confidence" in Rajkhowa.

"We are ready for dialogue provided sovereignty for
Assam is discussed," he said in an email to the media from an
undisclosed location fine tuning his reservation on the
dialogue process.

Raju Baruah claimed that their arrest was "a deep-rooted
conspiracy but it will not end our movement. It will

In the court of Kamrup Chief Judicial Magistrate
Robin Phukan, police asked for 14-day custody while the
lawyer of the ULFA leaders opposed it. After hearing both the
sides, the CJM remanded them to 12 days police custody.

The ULFA leaders were booked under the Special
Operation Unit 2/98 which is a legal document that has the
names of Rajkhowa, Barua and Bora and also under Section 384
of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

Earlier, self-styled `commander-in-chief` Paresh
Barua, who is known to be against talks, said that he had
"full confidence`" in Rajkhowa and the outfit was ready for a
dialogue provided `sovereignty` of Assam was discussed.

Denying that there was a split in the ULFA, he said
"There is no split in the ULFA and we have full confidence on
Chairman Rajkhowa. The question of difference of opinion does
not arise and now it is upto the Indian government to show
their sincerity by taking the process forward".

Family members of any of the leaders were not produced
in the court.

Pro-ULFA slogans rent the air as total chaos prevailed
outside the court premises. Slogans like "Arabinda Rajkhowa
zindabad...Raju Barua zindabad...ULFA zindabad" were heard and
the policemen chased aways the youths who were shouted the

The heavy traffic on the road came to a standstill as
people desperately tried to have a look at the ULFA leaders.

After the production, the ULFA leaders had been taken
to a guesthouse in the high-security 4th Assam Police
Battalion establishment at Kahilipara.


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First Published: Sunday, December 6, 2009 - 00:30

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