Friday, December 4, 2009


The debate around ULFA supreme commander Arabinda Rajkhowa's 'surrender' has inevitably moved beyond the development's impact on the fortunes of the terrorist organisation to how the Indian govt should deal with him. For instance, should the Centre talk to Rajkhowa? And if so, about what? Sovereignty? Autonomy? With each passing hour the dilemma plays itself out in the Centre's policy circles. But for many outside the government the answer is clear and simple - throw Rajkhowah into jail and charge him with the mass murder of 10,000 Indian citizens. Anything less, is to send out the wrong message, set the wrong precedent and serve as a slap in the face of thousands of patriotic Assamese that have pledged themselves to the service of the nation. It's important to note that there hasn't been a whimper of protest in Assam over the capture of Rajkhowa, no mass outrage, no bandh calls. Is this an indication of the Ulfa's dwindling legitimacy? Perhaps. But in any event it is a point to take into consideration. With a majority of ULFA top leaders (barring commander-in-chief of its military wing Paresh Baruah) behind bars, with several others eliminated or on the run, there's never been a better time to shut the door on the ULFA. Acting out of a misplaced sense of righteousness and engaging Rajkhowa now will only end up glorifying his cause not to mention legitimising his nearly two decade long reign of terror in the North East.


  1. Dear Rahul,

    I totally agree with your take on Arabinda Rajkowa. What he has done over the last few decade is definitely unpardonable, and he totally deserve to be put on trial.

    But after reading an article in "The Week", i like to take a different perspective here. I think its high time that we look into the root causees which made him what he is today.

    The transformation of Arabinda from a shy boy to a bloody Ulfa leader baffles me. I feel, even if Arabinda gets what he deserves in the court of law, its our responsibility to make sure that such transformations doesnt happen in future.

    His father a gandhian and a freedom fighter, he was 6th of the 9 siblings. He had to work hard to pay for his studies and bring rice to his family. He used to wear his sisters skirt, as he didnt have enough cloth to wear.

    He joined students politics and met Bharuah in that journey. Left his home at the age of 23 and never went back. His friends recognise him as a shy innocent boy.

    Arabinda should be punished. The question that comes in front of me is that:

    Who shud be blamed for his transformation?
    The system?.. the society?.. government?.. or he himself?..

    Reply to my mail:

  2. Good take on Arabinda! But when you throw a choice to the people of Assam, get ready for appreciation and brickbats alike! Why would anyone call a strike against Rajkhowa's imprisonment? The civil society knows no mercy for traitors. Naturally, everyone is looking forward for peace talks, which has given birth to a host of new problems. Now, a warning by Paresh Baruah on January 6 seems like he is playing the Robinhood trump card. But a renegade is a renegade!
    Aswin in his comment on your post says Rajhkhowa had a host of problems and is recognized as a shy innocent boy by his friends. But that doesn't let anyone from ignoring the reality. You edge out an excuse of drudgery for becoming a known face of terror? We have thousands here who are suffering the worst of God's wrath upon them and never complain.
    Rajkhowa is a coward and so are the rest of his followers! It's foolish of us to discuss on sleeping idiots( a host of them )inside the Guwahati Central prison.