GUWAHATI, Dec 12 � The United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) today claimed that Health and Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma was once a member of the political wing of the outfit. Meanwhile, Sarma said that it was a political attack against him and asserted that the fight against the militant outfit would continue.
In a release here, the publicity in charge of the hardline faction of the ULFA, Arunodoi Dohotiya said that Himanta Biswa Sarma was a member of the political wing of the ULFA but he was forced to leave the outfit because of his lack of knowledge about the revolution.
The ULFA said that the Minister does not have any right to comment on the courage of the members of the outfit as he had bowed down before a Chief Minister fearing threat to his life. Now the same person has been supporting harassment and killing of innocents by the �Indian forces�, the release said.
The release further said that the ULFA would be proud if a former colleague like Sarma manages to do something positive for the people of Assam and �we shall also be proud if a former colleague like Sarma manages to climb the political ladder to become the Chief Minister.�
The ULFA said that Sarma should have the courage to oppose handling over of Assam�s land to Bangladesh to protect the interests of Assam as was done by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to protect the interests of her State. The ULFA also dared Sarma to introduce Geography and History as compulsory subjects in school curriculum if he dares to do so by going against the wishes of India.
Meanwhile, reacting to the ULFA claim, Sarma said that it was a political attack against him. He said that in the past, the ULFA had issued at least 20 statements against him but in none of the statements, the outfit had claimed that he was a member of the ULFA. �Even Paresh Baruah had issued statements against me but he also did not claim that I was a member of the ULFA,� he added.
Sarma said that the statement from the hardline faction came only after he had strongly criticized Paresh Baruah in a meeting in Sivasagar yesterday. But he asserted that he would not be cowed down by such statements against him and the fight against the ULFA would continue.
Sarma said that those were the utterances of weak and frustrated minds.
�If I had been a member of the outfit, why did it take them 15 years to come public with an allegation?� Sarma said on the sidelines of a press conference convened by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.
The Chief Minister also termed the allegation as totally baseless, saying that no member of his cabinet had any links with any militant outfit.
KMSS reaction: The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) today claimed that the authenticity of its allegations that Himanta Biswa Sarma had once been an ULFA member and he was involved with the extortion bids and charges of his involvement in murder are also there, have now come true with the assertions made by the proscribed militant outfit.
But Sarma is inducted by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi as a member in his Cabinet. This has proved that the Chief Minister is patronizing such elements.
The KMSS also stated that it would move Congress president and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on the issue.
BJP reaction: State president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Ranjit Dutta has demanded immediate removal of Himanta Biswa Sarma from the State Ministry. He has also demanded formation of a special investigation cell to examine all the aspects of the ULFA statement on the issue.