The United Liberation Front of Assam
- Formed in 1979 and operational since 1990, the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) is a separatist outfit seeking sovereignty for Assam.
- It was categorized as a banned terrorist organization by the Indian government in 1990.
- After years of armed conflict, ULFA dropped its demands for Assam's independence in 2010 and agreed to talks with the Indian government, and in 2011, signed a ceasefire.
The founding members of ULFA
ULFA's founding members were Bhimakanta Buragohain, Rajiv Rajkonwar alias Arabinda Rajkhowa, Golap Baruah alias Anup Chetia, Samiran Gogoi alias Pradip Gogoi, Bhadreshwar Gohain and Paresh Baruah. Baruah headed its military wing, and Rajkonwar headed its political wing.
Assassinations carried out by ULFA
- According to the South Asian Terrorism Portal, ULFA is credited with several high profile assassinations, including those of businessman Surendra Paul in 1990, social activist Sanjay Ghose in 1997, and local AGP minister Nagen Sharma in 2000.
- In 1991, a Russian engineer and 13 other people were abducted and killed.
- Apart from assassinations, ULFA militants have killed hundreds of security forces since 1990.
Bomb blasts carried out by ULFA
- ULFA is credited with carrying out some major bomb blasts.
- On 15 August 2004, an ULFA triggered bomb blast in Dhemaji, Assam killed 17 including 16 school children.
- In January 2007, serial blasts killed 67 people, mostly Bihari migrants working in Assam.
- On 30 October, 2008, 13 serial blasts in several locations killed 77, and injured over 300 people. ULFA however denied its involvement.
The ULFA broke up into an Anti-Talks faction (ULFA-ATF) and a Pro-Talks faction (ULFA-PTF) in later years. However, the Undivided ULFA had an estimated cadre strength of around 5,000 trained insurgents.
Chetia seeks political asylum
- Anup Chetia, after his arrest in 1997, was sentenced to 7 years in prison.
- After completing his prison term, he appealed for political asylum in Bangladesh in 2005, 2008, and 2011 and was kept in custody for safekeeping as per a 2003 High Court directive.
- He also petitioned the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and other international organisations to grant him asylum abroad
ULFA members acquitted in Surrendra Paul case
Four of six ULFA members including ULFA leader, Arabinda Rajkhowa, charged with the murder of Surendra Paul, were acquitted due to lack of evidence in 2012. Anup Chetia and Paresh Baruah are yet to be captured and tried.
ULFA leader Anup Chetia handed over to CBI
- The general secretary of United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), Anup Chetia is to be extradited to India from Bangladesh.
- Chetia was arrested in 1997 in Bangladesh for passport forgery, cross-border intrusion, and illegally keeping foreign currencies, and was in custody of Bangladeshi authorities.
- Chetia is wanted for murder, kidnapping and extortion in India, and is likely to be brought to Delhi today.
Current ULFA leaders
Of the 9 current leaders of ULFA, Pradip Gogoi, Arabinda Rajkhowa, Raju Baruah, Mithinga Daimary, Chitraban Hazarika, Pranati Deka and Sashadhar Choudhury are out on bail. Paresh Baruah was last spotted in Nagaland, and Anup Chetia is being extradited.