Guwahati, Sep17: The ULFA has claimed that they are abandoning the peace process and preparing for a full swing arms struggle asking people in the state to gear up for it.
In a statement published in its latest mouthpiece "Freedom" ULFA has for the first time revealed that Chairman Aurobindo Rajkhowa and Commander-in-Chief Paresh Bara would have agreed on negotiations had the peace talk moved ahead. ''But instead, the state government has once again played the old game and scuttled the peace process. The issue of national rights and dignity was repeatedly trifled. The ULFA could not swallow this. There was no alternative but harder struggle,'' the Freedom reportedly said.
Meanwhile, the Army claimed that facing the heat from security forces in the upper Assam districts, the ULFA is now raising a new battalion in Karbi Anglong district, taking advantage of the low presence of the armed forces there.
''They are now trying to raise the 27th battalion in Karbi Anglong,'' Maj Gen N C Marwah, GoC of the 2 Mountain Division, which has jurisdiction over seven Upper Assam districts and two in Arunachal Pradesh, told visiting mediapersons at the division headquarters here.
Army sources said that following intensified counter-insurgency operations in the Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Jorhat, Golaghat and Sonitpur districts, ULFA cadres were taking shelter in Karbi Anglong because of the low presence of the security forces there. The district had emerged as a preferred hideout for the banned outfit because of its difficult terrain, dense forests, hilly tracts and rivers, besides its proximity to Bangladesh that allowed easy access to that country, they said.
''Karbi Anglong was a lost district in the sense that literacy and awareness level was extremely low. Besides, a large number of insurgent outfits championing the cause of various tribals were also operating there,'' they said.
In reply to a question, they said the ULFA were procuring and amassing arms and ammunition for its 27th battalion from militant outfits in the district,mainly the Karbi Longli National Liberation Front(KLNLF) demanding autonomy for the Karbis.
ULFA's 28th battalion, comprising the A, B and C companies, was also active in Upper Assam, Lt Col A Chaturvedi of the 19 Kumaon Regiment deployed in Tinsukia said.
The 'A' company is active in Tinsukia district, the 'B' company covers Sibsagar, Jorhat and Golaghat, while the 'C' company works in Dibrugarh,Nalbari, Dhemaji and parts of Tinsukia. The A and C companies have a total strength of 150.