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Guwahati: The alleged killing of two ‘spies’ of Assam Police by the proscribed militant outfit United Liberation Front of Assam – Independent (ULFA-I) has invoked strong reactions from the civil society, legal fraternity and the state administration. 

The self-styled commander of ULFA-I, Paresh Baruah, in an interview, claimed to have executed Dhanjit Das and Sanjeev Sharma on Saturday at 8 am on charges of spying for Assam Police

‘Its judicial council found both Sharma and Das guilty and ordered execution for an unpardonable offence as per the ULFA’s constitution,” Baruah said. 

The ULFA blamed Assam Police and DGP Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta in a televised, phone-in interview for motivating poverty-ridden youths to join the ULFA and spy on huge sums of cash. The outfit also released two video clippings where Sanjiv and Dhanjit confessed their crime of secretly working for the police and asserted that Ulfa (I) is a revolutionary organisation (not a terror outfit).

Director-General of Assam Police, Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta denied ULFA’s charges and said that Assam Police in the last 30-40 years of ULFA conflict never sent any spy. Mahanta asserted it is beyond their mandate to send people to a foreign land.

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‘Execution of an unarmed person is not at all a brave act. Paresh Baruah stands exposed to this dirty activity. The ULFA might have sentenced to death several youths in their kangaroo courts. Assam Police have tried to build the atmosphere for peace parleys, and ULFA-I should respond to Government of Assam’s proposal for talks,” Mahanta told reporters, terming the action of ULFA, if true, very inhuman and terrorising. “It’s time for Baruah to understand the sentiments of people of Assam who desire peace, progress and prosperity,” the DGP added.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma urged the proscribed terror outfit United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-I) to refrain from violence. Addressing the media persons, Sarma asserted that state police had not sent any spies to join the terror outfit, despite claims that the ULFA-I had executed two youths from the state for allegedly being ‘secret agents.’

“The occurrence is both tragic and heartbreaking. I hope this isn’t true. This is a lesson for any young people considering joining the ULFA-I in the future. Actions of the outfit resulted in numerous deaths,” he declared.

“We cannot dispatch spies beyond Dhubri and Sadiya. Sitting in Guwahati, we cannot justify everything the ULFA has said. For peace with the outfit, we must sit for deliberations,” Sarma remarked.

Demanding a judicial enquiry into this matter, Ram Prasad Sharma, a senior advocate of the Gauhati High Court and a member of the Congress party, said, ‘If the news reports and ULFA’s statement are true, Assam Police and Home Department, Government of Assam too are squarely responsible. A judicial enquiry led by a sitting high court judge should be done to find out counterclaims of Assam Police and confessional video,” he said. 

Sharma said the police officer and army officer named in the video must also be interrogated on charges of pushing indigenous unemployed poor boys to death. 

Taking to EastMojo, Dr Bhaskar Papukon Gogoi, a member of the recently-formed Assam State Youth Commission, said, “I consider it as a murder, if true because we cannot recognise ULFA’s judicial council or constitution that ordered this execution. Even if it is a death sentence, any state, will hand over the dead body to the immediate family. Does the ULFA have a humanitarian sense to hand over the dead bodies to their families?”

Coming down heavily on ULFA military chief, Gogoi said, “Paresh Baruah or Paresh Asom acts on the behest of China, so the peace parleys were never successful. His founding friends have left ULFA and are now in talks with the Government of India.” 

Gogoi also urged the media to report more responsibly about such incidents without glorifying them. “Media in Assam should always keep state interest ahead and counter-question Paresh Baruah during the conversation on Dhemaji killings and other tough issues.

Gauhati High Court advocate Bijon Mahajan and the convenor of the Legal Cell of the Bharatiya Janata Party said, “I pray to God that reports coming from Myanmar are baseless and false. ULFA should come to peace talks so the lives of indigenous youths should not be taken or other ways. Indigenous local boys have been eliminated is condemnable, and it should not have happened. It is the prerogative of ULFA to choose peace over violence. As per the wishes of the people of Assam, ULFA should join the peace process for development and progress of the state instead of recruiting youths and wagging war.”

Civil society organisations have been condemned from all corners. The Patriotic People’s Front Assam (PPFA) expressed grave concern over the news relating to the execution of two Assamese youths by the separatist militant outfit with the conviction of spying for Assam police and demanded that the government take a serious note of its implication.

“Both the victims read out the lines (in Assamese) definitely under the gunpoint. Looking at their eyes, anyone can realise it. But shockingly, the news channels continue telecasting the videos as if the Ulfa(I) did nothing wrong with punishing both the Assamese youths,” said the PPFA statement, adding that the government (precisely the police department) should make a statement over the matter. 

Also read: Assam’s Behali wildlife sanctuary: Only half the battle won for protection

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