GUWAHATI, March 21 - The United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent), which suffered severe setbacks due to sustained operations, was forced to allow militant outfits from other states to operate in Assam. Meanwhile, demonetisation of the old Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 currency notes also resulted in severe setback to the ultras.
Army sources told The Assam Tribune that as it is not in a position to carry out operations on its own, the ULFA(I) was forced to allow militant outfits from Manipur and Nagaland to operate in Assam. Such outfits has absolutely no stake in Assam, but the ULFA(I) allowed these outfits to operate in the State because it is not in a position to do so after its strength dwindled rapidly due to sustained operations.
Demonetisation of the old currency notes also affected the militant outfits including the ULFA(I) as all the extorted money was rendered useless. Though it was reported that the militants managed to exchange some old currency notes immediately after the Government announced the demonetisation move, particularly in a few banks in Nagaland, the ULFA(I) could not exchange most of its funds. The Nagaland based outfits managed to exchange some of the money held by them, but the other outfits including the ULFA(I) did not manage to do so and most of the extorted money is totally useless.
Army sources said that facing severe financial crisis, the ULFA(I) stepped up its extortion bid in upper Assam districts. Citing one example, sources said that one tea estate manager received as many as five calls from the ULFA(I) leaders within a span of one week demanding money. Sources said that the ULFA(I) has not even spared small businessmen as such people are also receiving demands for money from the militant outfit.