Michael Asom replaces Drishti Rajkhowa, who recently surrendered before Army and police.
The outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent, or ULFA (I), has appointed Michael Asom as its new deputy commander-in-chief.
Asom has replaced Drishti Rajkhowa, who surrendered formally before the Army and Assam police on November 12, a statement issued by the outfit said on November 13.
“We have granted retirement to Major General Drishti and appointed Major General Michael Asom in his place,” ULFA (I) commander-in-chief, ‘Lt General’ Paresh Baruah said in the statement.
Not much is known about Asom. Intelligence officials said he had been with the outfit for a long time and was elevated to the post of ‘chief staff officer’ four years ago.
Rajkhowa, 50, and four other extremists — all from Assam — were stopped by the Meghalaya police on November 11 during a routine check of vehicles. The five were on the way to an Army unit to give themselves up after escaping from security forces in Bangladesh. They had crossed over into the neighbouring country after escaping from a shootout with security forces in Meghalaya’s South Garo Hills district in March.
The five were brought to an Army base at Rangiya, about 60 km northwest of Guwahati, where they surrendered formally.
Baruah claimed the security forces had made Rajkhowa’s surrender dramatic. “We released him so he could be with his wife who is suffering from cancer,” the ULFA (I) chief said.
Rajkhowa was made the ‘deputy commander-in-chief’ in 2011, two years before the ULFA spilt into the pro-talks group headed by its chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa and the ULFA (I) headed by Baruah.
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