Many innocent and gullible people from the Northeast, most of whom are very poor, have been conned by various insurgent groups and used for menial jobs in its camps in Myanmar, instead.
“Having promised good pay and perks by ULFA, these innocent people have been made to undertake hard labour and made to live amidst extremely hostile conditions,” P Khongsai, Defence PRO based in Guwahati said in a statement on Monday.
This came to light when three cadres of the National Democratic Front of Boroland (Songibijit) were apprehended by village guards of Upper Dan, Tuensang district in Nagaland on June 11.
Following the Myanmar Army taken over the bases of Northeast insurgent groups including ULFA (I) and NDFB (S) in Taga, several cadres of these outfit have fled the neighbouring country and entered Assam.
Three such cadres belonging to NDFB (S) were nabbed by village guards of Upper Dan recently.
He said the nabbed cadres were found disoriented and in poor physical state at the time of their apprehension along the Indo-Myanmar border.
“The three confessed that they were working as labourers in Bangalore since 2013. However, they were contacted by a middleman named Timitigiry in Bangalore, who lured them to join NDFB (S) in 2018, asking them to fight for the Bodo cause and falsely promised good pay.
“They were then taken to Assam and from there were made to cross over to Myanmar on foot via Longleng District of Nagaland. On reaching Taga camp of the outfit in Myanmar, they were used as bonded labour and employed to cultivate poppy, rice and vegetables. They were even forced to work in the coal mines owned in parts by the senior insurgent leaders,” said the PRO.
“On asking for better conditions, the three were beaten up and tied to wooden posts. Eventually the three finally managed to flee when Myanmar Army recently occupied Taga camp. They then travelled along jungle trails eating whatever nature provided them with. They traced their journey back to India from Taga to Dan through Nampha, Nautun, Lahe and Ponyu,” he added.
Khongsai said physical and mental abuse of new recruits is not unusual among insurgent groups.
“This has become even more rampant with desperation setting in, especially amongst cadres of ULFA (I) and NDFB (S); consequent to the recent crackdown by Tatmadaw (Myanmar Army) that ensued loss of bases of these groups,” added the PRO.