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Identity crisis for ULFA kids
Published on 11 Dec. 2009 12:07 AM IST
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Disoriented and bewildered about their names, their religion and their identity, the children of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) leaders arrested last week are still trying to come to terms with the reality of their lives and those of their fugitive fathers. Khamchen Bohagi and Gadadhar, the two children of outlawed ULFA chief Arabinda Rajkhowa, are surprised to see their father’s handcuffed photographs and television images and are constantly asking their mother Kaveri what is wrong. As far as Bohagi, 13, and Gadadhar, 5, know, their father is a businessman in Bangladesh and his name is Mizanur Rahman Choudhury. The two children, now lodged at the 4th Assam Police Battalion headquarter guesthouse in Guwahati, did not know they are Assamese nor that their father is a separatist leader and one of India’s most wanted fugitives until his arrest last week. “Both the children speak only Bengali and were made to believe they were Muslims. Today both of them are confused and constantly prodding their mother about the developments,” a senior intelligence official involved in the interrogation process told IANS. Their mother Kaveri Kachari, 41, wife of Arabinda Rajkhowa, is at her wits end - still holding back from her two curious children the real identity of her husband and her own credentials as the head of ULFA’s women wing. Born in Bangladesh, the two children do not know their father was born as Rajib Rajkonwar and then became Arabinda Rajkhowa and later Mizanur Rahman Choudhury to carry out a violent separatist campaign in Assam. They are not the only ones. It is the same with the children of two other ULFA leaders - deputy commander-in-chief Raju Baruah and foreign secretary Sasha Choudhury - who are also lodged at the police guesthouse now. Little Sishirkana who has turned eight is equally curious and quizzing her mother Runima Chetia, wife of Sasha Choudhury, about what is going on. Sishirkana too thought her father was a businessman in Dhaka and that his name was Rafikul Islam - the name used by Choudhury to fake his identity in Bangladesh. Raju Baruah’s daughter Pragati, 10, is equally perturbed and confused - asking her mother Nirola Neog, 30, what actually happened and why they were under police cover. For Pragati, her father is Anees Ahmed. She is unaware that he was born Hitesh Kalita and later became Raju Baruah. “All the children are asking as to why they were being brought here and what would happen to their education as all of them were studying in Dhaka schools,” the official said. “They all thought they were Bangladeshis.” On Dec 4, the ULFA chairman, Raju Baruah, and Rajkhowa’s personal security guard were arrested by Border Security Force officials near Dawki in Meghalaya after they reportedly surrendered. Also arrested in the same group were the wives of Rajkhowa and Baruah, besides the wife of Sasha Choudhury, and their children. Choudhury was arrested last month in a similar fashion and is now in jail. Rajkhowa and Baruah are in police custody.

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