Close on the heels of the pro-talk ULFA faction launching a tirade against “outsiders”, the anti-talk faction of ULFA headed by Paresh Barua on Monday asked NEEPCO and NHPC, two public sector power companies to quit the region or face “military action.” It also asked the government to remove names of all “outsider Indians” from various educational institutions and rename them after eminent indigenous people.
The ULFA faction, in a statement e-mailed to media offices here on Monday, held North-Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) responsible for the recent floods in Lakhimpur district, and asked it to leave Assam, and said NHPC’s Lower Subansiri hydel project would cause a much bigger disaster.
“While NEEPCO’s 405-MW Ranganadi hydel project caused such havoc, it is easily understood what disaster is in store in NHPC’s 2000-MW Lower Subansiri project. It will wipe out the entire downstream area. Hence both companies should shut down their operations in this (Western South-East Asia) region. Otherwise ULFA(I) will carry out a military action against them,” the statement signed by self-styled Major Arunoday Asom, assistant publicity secretary said.
It also asked the people employed with the two hydel projects to find alternative jobs elsewhere. “Our target is not the employees, but the two companies. Hence, the employees and workers are asked to find jobs elsewhere within the next six months,” it said.
The Assam Police have alerted the concerned districts and already instructed beefing up security to the NEEPCO and NHPC installations and offices in the state, Assam Police DG Mukesh Sahay said. “We have taken note of the threat and accordingly instructed concerned officers to step up security for the various installations of the two PSUs in the state,” Sahay told The Indian Express. The major projects of the two companies however located inside Arunachal Pradesh, he pointed out, adding that his counterpart in that state too has been alerted.
The outfit also asked the government to immediately rename all educational institutions currently named after different “Marwari, Bihari, Rajasthani and other outsider Indians” persons after different eminent persons of Assam. “The alliance government that had come to power by promising to protect jaati-maati-bheti (identity, land and homes) of the indigenous people should immediately give up its policy of Indian national dominance and rename such institutions after eminent persons of Assam,” it said.
The ULFA particularly referred to the BJP-led government’s decision to name 22 new colleges after Deendayal Upadhyaya, warned of “armed action” against such institutions, and asked parents and guardians to pull out their wards from such institutions “in the interest of their security.” It also gave a list of names of eminent local personalities who had made significant contributions to the development of the state, and as the government to name them after these persons.
The ULFA threat came only four days after the Assam government had declared the state as a “Disturbed Area” under provisions of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) for six more months. A notification issued by the state home department on August 31 said that while the law and order situation had continued to be a matter of concern due to violent incidents by the underground groups, as many as 16 incidents involving these groups had taken place in three months, May to July. These incidents had resulted in seven deaths – two civilians, one security personnel and four militants.
“The militant outfits operating in the area continue to affirm their faith in armed struggle and indulge in acts of violence to create panic among common people, disturb the administrative system and extort money from the people,” the notification signed by L S Changsan, Principal Secretary (Home & Political) had said. While the AFSPA declaration and extension was always done by the Centre in the past, this was the first time the state government did it under Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958.