Militancy-related deaths of innocents, though few and far, refuse to die down in Assam. The killing of brave heart office-in-charge of Bordumsa police station by militants belonging to ULFA (Independent) once again raises the question as to whose benefit the militant outfit is waging a battle for – against the Indian state. Nearly everyone will agree that ULFA is a spent force since most of its top-rung leaders have come overground and their movement has lost people’s support. The reasons for that are many, but prominent among them is the outfit’s tendency to remain in the limelight by often picking up on soft targets. For instance, the killing of 10 children in a blast triggered by the outfit in Dhemaji during 2004 Independence Day celebration is a black chapter in the history of the ULFA movement in the State. The cowardly act to take the lives of innocent children shook the conscience of every right-thinking person in the State.
The outfit has come under severe criticism after the brave heart OC of Bordumsa police station was killed in an encounter with militants of the outfit prompting its self-styled commander-in-chief, Paresh Baruah, to issue an apology to the family of the slain police officer, Bhaskar Kalita. But is just mere apology enough for such dastardly act from a militant leader who claims that he is fighting for the rights of the people of Assam?
Over the last two decades, much has changed. ULFA, an organization that began as a sub-nationalist force and metamorphosed into a killing machine in the 1990s and the early 2000s before being pushed to the margins, is somehow trying to make a comeback. Or is it the last hurrah of a spent force? Also, have the Central and State governments been caught off-guard? Whatever might be the reason, the security forces should be given a free hand to rein in the last remaining demoralized cadre of the militant outfit, considering that most prominent leaders of the organization have already surrendered their arms and come overground.
Sadly, the death of the brave heart in the ultimate duty for the country is again being turned into a political football. Both ruling and opposition parties are trading charges against each other on the quality of the bullet-proof jacket the slain Kalita was wearing while he was in combing operation. In fact, it has become everyday story how our political class compromises with the quality of government purchases in order to fill up their coffers. Investigation would be ordered and again it would be put into cold freeze; no one would come to know what the findings are.
Politicians are quite aware of the fact that public memory is short and the issue in question will fade away into oblivion soon. But the memories of Kalita will not fade away from his widow and little children; likewise, the parents of the ten children who were killed in the Dhemaji blast would forever grieve. For how long will the people of the State bear the brunt of a so-called sovereignty movement by a ideologically bereft outfit which has lost all its meaning and has no relevance in modern times when the youth of the State has nothing to do with the romanticism of the ‘sovereignty’ slogan of the outfit?