Tinsukia: Two national-level kickboxers and three other girls from Assam have allegedly joined the insurgent group United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-I).

According to the reports, the five girls went missing on Tuesday. A video that circulated and went viral on Friday showed the same group of girls and a boy walking through the dense jungles, claiming to have joined the banned militant outfit ULFA-I.

Deputy Inspector of General (North Eastern region) of Assam Police Jitmal Doley told EastMojo that the women have been reported to be missing and that the police has been trying to trace them.

“Reports are coming in that they are heading to join ULFA-I. We are trying to get it confirmed through our channels,” the DIG said.

While DIG Doley said he couldn’t divulge much information on the case at this point, he added that the Assam police was trying to verify the authenticity of the video, the location and other details.

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Official sources within the police department, however, told EastMojo that the two kickboxers have been identified as Nayanmani Chetia from Tinsukia district, and Sabita Chetia from Dhemaji district.

“The women players have announced their decision to join ULFA-I in the video,” the official said.

Nayanmani Chetia’s husband reportedly works as a homeguard with Assam Police. A relative told local media outlets that she had told the family she going for a kickboxing event along with 4 other girls.

“Her mobile is switched off since the day she left. We hope she has gone for kickboxing.” 

Also Read | Assam CM urges ULFA-I chief to come to negotiating table

The source identified another girl seen in the video as one Sarmistha Saikia, resident of Laluk in the Lakhimpur district of Assam. While two more girls seen in the video have not been identified yet, sources said they are likely residents of Majuli and Morigaon in Assam.

The development comes at a time when there are signals of possible peace talks between the government and Paresh Baruah-led ULFA-I, and scores of surrenders from various militant outfits in the region.

On August 15 this year, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had appealed to the ULFA-I to return to the mainstream and join the dialogue process. The ULFA-I had then announced an extension of its unilateral ceasefire for three months. 

Assam police believes that ULFA-I has lost most of its power, ground and support base in Assam and is only surviving on a brand name with a fearful history.

Also Read | Assam CM hopeful of finding middle ground to start talks with ULFA

“Paresh Baruah realizes that he has nothing left. His strategy seems to be to go mild and consolidate his position with few recruits here and there and to milk the brand name for which ULFA-I was once feared. But, that’s history,” a senior police official said on the condition of anonymity.

DIG Jitmal Doley, however, appealed to the youngsters in Assam to not get swayed by the imaginary adventurous journey, “which is unsurvivable and far removed from reality.”

“Instead of taking this dead end, youths need to work for their career and welfare of the society. Doors of Assam Police are always open to counsel and guide youths who desire to do good for the people and the society,” the DIG said.

Two weeks ago, three young men from Kordoiguri under Doomdooma circle of Tinsukia district had gone missing and are suspected to have joined ULFA-I.

Also Read | ULFA-I recruitment module busted in Assam

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