Friday, December 4, 2009
TALK WITH ARABINDA RAJKHOWA? BUT ABOUT WHAT?
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.