ULFA (I) has declared that any time they would kill the two employees they kidnapped last year from Arunachal Pradesh who belong to Quippo Oil and Gas Infrastructure Limited as the negotiation between the oil drilling firm and the outfit has stalled.

In this context, we can discuss two things. One is this particular incident of kidnapping of two oil firm employees and the other is generally about the activities of the ULFA (I). How should we react to the kidnapping of the two persons and the threat to kill them for not paying the ransom by their employer? It is the grossest of injustice to the kidnapped persons.

How on earth the ULFA could justify the kidnapping of these two persons? On top of it, how could they justify the plan to kill them? There is utter madness and there is absolutely no justification for it.  For months and weeks, both the kidnapped persons are being traumatized by the banned outfit. Their family members and friends have been suffering and spending sleepless nights for no faults of theirs and under a situation beyond their control.

Is this the name of patriotism? This is no patriotism. This is not called patriotism. This is mere insanity. They have absolutely no right to commit this act of murder in the name of Assam and Assamese people. The ordinary people of Assam have overwhelmingly disapproved of this.

The ULFA (I) should try to read the writings on the wall and understand the sentiments of all sections of people on the issue. They should desist from this and forthwith release both the kidnapped employees. Otherwise, they will face the wrath of people and face universal condemnation everywhere.

Another thing is the role of the government. The safety and security of each citizen is the bounden duty of the government. Under no circumstances, the government could shake off this responsibility. The strange thing is so far we have not noticed any initiative on the part of the government to resolve the issue and get the kidnapped persons released from the ULFA (I). This is most reprehensible.

When something like this happens the government cannot sit idle and wait for the situation to get resolved automatically. Who else can play determining role in a situation like this if not the government of the day? The government is the only agency capable of handling such urgencies and exigencies with all the resources in its possession.

Even now the government should do everything possible to get both the persons released unharmed from the custody of the banned organization. All over the state people are concerned and apprehensive of their safety and wellbeing. But, so far there is no word and nothing from the government on this.

The government cannot be indifferent to the unsure fate and future of both the wretched persons. They must take some urgent initiatives so that the family members and friends of the kidnapped persons are reassured about the safe release of both persons. The government must act fast and act now.

The second thing is about the relevance of the ULFA and the ULFA (I). For the ULFA nothing said is better. The same can be said about the ULFA (I) too. They claim themselves to be a revolutionary organization. Forget about revolutionary activities, even we do not remember the last time when we heard some revolutionary utterances from them.

Only from the incidents of occasional bomb blast and kidnapping, we remember that the ULFA (I) still exists. Even in their heydays what did they do? We didn’t see them engaging in any activities of far-reaching social change. Their core activities were disciplining people and banning this and that act and issuing threats to the public.

They even didn’t have a worked-out plan for the development of Assam. They have an end but they didn’t know the means of how to arrive at the end. Why is this a sordid state of affairs? It is because the extra nationalists in Assam were always parochial in their thinking and they had a strain of compromising attitude in them.

Think of the majority of the members of the present government. Where have they come from? What is their political lineage? Isn’t it the same lineage? Almost all of them were involved in the Assam movement which also begot the ULFA and the ULFA (I). What are they doing today? Have not they compromised everything under the influence of the ruling party? How shame that they have assimilated with the BJP completely? And what our friends in ULFA and ULFA (I) have done in the last few years against the domination of the BJP? Nothing.

It is so sad to see them become so subservient to the ruling regime! The moderate leaders in the Congress had more spine than these extra nationalists. Forget about Gopinath Bordoloi, Bishnu Ram Medhi and Mahendra Mohan Choudhury, even Tarun Gogoi had better guts than these leaders.

This is the state of nationalism in Assam today.  We often hear that the ULFA (I) chief frequently calls many of our writer and journalist friends and enjoy a long conversation with them on the phone. I know they don’t have the privilege to call him back. But shouldn’t they all issue an appeal to ULFA (I) protesting against the kidnapping of these two oil employees and ask the outfit to release both the persons unharmed?

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Paresh Malakar

Paresh Malakar is a commentator based in Guwahati. He can be reached at: malakarparesh@gmail.com