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House-wives turn to corner Paresh Baruah
Published on 5 Jan. 2010 12:34 AM IST
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While some serious accusations have been levelled from various quarters against Commander-in-Chief of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) Paresh Baruah, it is the turn of the housewives in Assam now in cornering the ULFA military leader. The housewives are accusing Paresh Baruah of murder. It is worth noting that Paresh Baruah has been on the back-foot ever since the arrest of some of ULFA’s top leaders including its chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa and deputy “commander-in-chief” Raju Barua. And now that the housewives are accusing him of murder, the pressure to stay clean is surely mounting on him, as reported by two News agencies. “It is Barua who had masterminded the killing of my husband,” alleged Mridula Deka, widow of All Assam Students’ Union leader the late Upen Deka. Her allegation was based on a threat letter which the family had received from the ULFA in 1990. Deka was shot dead on January 11, 1997 in Guwahati. On the same day, his brother-in-law was also gunned down by unidentified assailants. Reacting to the allegation, Paresh Baruah dismissed it as “baseless allegation”. “The ULFA had no hand in the killing of Deka. We still respect him for his contribution to our cause,” ULFA commander-in-chief told local TV channels. Even though Paresh Baruah has been giving his side of the story in ULFA’s defence, the victim’s near and dear ones still see the ULFA as a bunch of killers. “Who gave them the licence to kill the innocent?” asked the widow of Kamala Saikia, a journalist, killed by the ULFA. After the Dhemaji blast, ULFA’s support base in Assam dwindled tremendously. Dhemaji is located about 450 km north of Guwahati. The blast occurred on August 15, 2005. In that blast some fifteen people, mostly children, were killed. The victims had gathered at the public ground to be part of the official Independence Day celebrations. Fuming over the incident, the victims’ relatives say they will never be able to pardon the perpetrators of the blast. “They can’t be pardoned. They should face severe punishment,” said Lobita Saikia, a housewife. She had lost both her daughters – Aruna and Rupa – in the blast. It is pertinent to note that the ULFA commander-in-chief had recently apologized for the blast saying it was meant to target government officials including the deputy commissioner and the superintendent of police of the district. At the same time, he held leaders of ULFA’s pro-talks group responsible for the blast. But, families of the blast victims say Paresh Barua cannot thus skirt his responsibility. “He cannot wash his hands-off of such a heinous crime. If he is a responsible general, he should be bold enough to shoulder the responsibility of the crime,” said the parents of Dinesh, a Class VIII student, killed in the Dhemaji blast.

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