A software engineer from Assam’s Dibrugarh has joined United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent), days after Munna Barua, nephew of the banned outfit’s chief Paresh Barua joined it, police said on Friday.
The ULFA(I) is suspected by Assam police to be behind the killing of five Bengali-speaking farmers in Tinsukia district in November. The outfit has denied its involvement in the case. In a video that appeared on social media platforms Friday, 27-year-old Abhijeet Gogoi claimed that he had picked up arms to “save the Assamese community”.
“Whatever is happening in Assam, is unfortunate. Youngsters should come forward to do something for the community. If we don’t come out to save ourselves, then no one will come to save us. I invite young generation to come forward for the community,” Gogoi is purportedly heard saying in the video. He also claimed that “indigenous people” were facing trouble because of migrants in neighbouring Tripura.
Gogoi, in the video, has claimed to have graduated as an engineer from SRM University in Chennai in 2012. He said that he was an MBA and had worked in multiple countries, including Singapore and Australia. Before joining the militant outfit, Gogoi claimed, he was working in Bengaluru.
Senior police officers at Sadiya in Tinsukia told The Indian Express that as per available records, Gogoi had appeared for his matriculation in 2006-07 from here and had left the district by 2008. Dibrugarh police said around two years ago Gogoi was living for a brief period with some of his relatives in Moran who had registered a case against him.
Gogoi is not the first to upload a video after joining the banned outfit. In October, a video featuring another recruit Pankaj Pratim Dutta, previously a local leader of the All Assam Student Union in Golaghat district, was uploaded.
A senior Assam police officer, without wishing to be named, compared the trend of uploading videos to “just like militants do in Kashmir”. Insurgents in Kashmir often upload videos explaining the rationale behind armed secessionist struggle on social media.
Special DGP of Assam police Special Branch, Pallab Bhattacharyya, had told The Indian Express in November that the opposition to the BJP’s proposal to pass the Citizenship Amendment Bill in the state has added a “fresh lease of life” to the activities of the ULFA(I).
Since September 1, police say, at least 11 people from Tinsukia and Udalguri districts have joined the banned outfit, while another 11 have surrendered. A senior police officer in Tinsukia – considered to be a hotbed of ULFA(I) – said that in 2017 and 2018, at least nine youths joined the outfit from the district, while another 22 had been “brought back” by the police.