Indian rebel leader denies Islamic links

21 June 2015
Indian rebel leader denies Islamic links
Indian Army personnel in Assam. Photo: EPA

Northeast Indian separatist leader Paresh Barua has denied links with any Islamic radical organisation in Bangladesh or Myanmar.
In an exclusive interview with Mizzima, Barua now in charge of the military wing of the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) said reports about JMB militants from Bangladesh receiving training in Myanmar bases of NSCN and ULFA were "totally false and baseless".
He said that the reports attributed one Nurul Hoque of Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) arrested in Kolkata were "motivated" and designed to upset the Myanmar authorities.
"ULFA or NSCN are surely not organisations that are created on the basis of religion. We are fighting for the independence of our people from the Indian occupation," Barua told Mizzima over the phone from an undisclosed location.
He said that ULFA has never encouraged any "religion-driven recruitment" and neither has the NSCN. 
"Both organisations are fighting for their people irrespective of religion," he said. 
Referring to a reports in the Indian media that he had taken bodyguards from Bangladesh's HUJI Islamist group, Barua said this was "nothing but Indian propaganda". 
"I move around our bases to meet our fighters. Has anyone in ULFA or NSCN ever seen me with bodyguards," Barua quipped. 
"I have my own people to take care of me." 
Barua said neither he nor NSCN's Myanmar Naga leader S S Khaplang would like to start negotiations with India.
"We are not interested in tactical negotiations, which the Indians pursue to defuse our struggle," Barua told Mizzima.
"If India is genuinely interested in resolving our issues peacefully, then we will talk," he said. "We are interested in substantive talks and not something that helps India buy time."
Barua said the ULFA or NSCN-K would not get into any negotiations unless Delhi agreed to discuss sovereignty of Assam and Nagalim. 
"That is the core issue and unless that is discussed, our struggle will continue," he said.