ULFA leader’s mother waits endlessly to see son

April 6th, 2008 - 12:42 pm ICT by admin  

By Syed Zarir Hussain
Jeraigaon (Assam), April 6 (IANS) Fifty-one-year-old Paresh Baruah, commander-in-chief of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) may be India’s most wanted separatist leader, but for his octogenarian mother Miliki Baruah, it has been a long wait of nearly 30 years to have a glimpse of her son. And with the Assamese New Year or Rongali Bihu round the corner, the desire to have her son back home is increasing.

“My heart cries almost daily and I definitely want my son back home… it’s a mother’s wish that he comes back home,” Miliki told IANS in a choked voice.

It was on April 7, 1979, that Baruah left this small village of Jeraigaon, about 550 km east of Guwahati, to form the ULFA along with five other like-minded youths.

And since then he has never returned home with the ULFA waging a violent insurgency to carve out an independent Assamese homeland.

Baruah is now believed to be sheltered in Bangladesh from where he and some of the top rebel leaders are running their separatist campaign. Dhaka, however, denies the allegations.

“There should be an end to the violence and the government should take the initiative to hold peace talks and bring the ULFA to the negotiating table,” Miliki said.

Miliki looks morose at the thought of her long lost son.

“The government should create a conducive atmosphere to bring the ULFA for talks… it is the government’s responsibility to initiate the peace process,” Miliki said in her modest home at Jeraigaon.

This village is also home to Anup Chetia, ULFA’s general secretary. Chetia is now in Bangladesh after being released from a Dhaka prison two years ago.

As the pulsating beats of drums and foot-tapping music echo to herald the Assamese New Year April 14, people of Jeraigaon are praying the mellifluous sound of drumbeats does not fade away.

“We hope our brother Paresh Baruah understands our desire for peace and so should New Delhi try and respect our sentiments. Both the parties should walk an extra mile to facilitate the holding of talks,” said Ramen Das, a village youth.

For the state police, Baruah is one of the most wanted with a red corner notice sounded to the Interpol to arrest him.

Charged on many counts of murder, extortion, kidnapping, Baruah could face “death, imprisonment of life, and fine” if convicted, the Assam Police website says about the ULFA leader and terms him as “violent” and “suicidal” in nature.

“I am hopeful my son would come back home one day,” Milika said as he walked into her bedroom slowly even as the beats of drums and cymbals nearby continue to rend the air.

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