Does ULFA believe in democratic processes like elections?
Here, the fundamental question is: why do we not believe in democracy? The struggle launched by ULFA since 1979 was to bring back the justified democratic right of the people of Assam from which they have been deprived by the Indian state for the last 50 years. The so-called intellectuals who have sold their souls to the government have termed ULFA's boycott call for elections as a body blow to democracy but the reality has demonstrated that the meaning of Indian democracy is injustice, exploitation and deprivation. We are opposed to the 'exploiters' democracy' and believe in 'democracy for the exploited'.
In the 1996 elections your party had chosen to remain silent. What made you make a boycott decision this time?
In the 1996 elections the people had taken part in the elections conditionally. The ruling AGP-led alliance swept to power on the basis of the assurances demanded by the people. The AGP had promised to give the right of self-determination to the people in their election manifesto and also promised to remove the army and withdraw the black laws from Assam. This was an important event in the political history of Assam because never before had the people participated in an election conditionally. In other words, the people had lost confidence in the parliamentary system over the years and yet they wanted to give a last chance to this system.
However, the parliamentary democracy failed to pass the test and that is why this line of thought, calling for boycott of elections, has become inevitable. There is obviously no alternative for the people.
A lot of people say that ULFA tries to garner support by invoking fear of the gun. What do you have to say about this?
Is it untrue that for the last 50 years the Indian State has exploited and deprived the people of Assam? Even after this, should the people of Assam remain as dumb as cattle? Moreover, the relationship between the masses and a revolutionary organisation is like that of fish and water. There is no place for invoking the fear of the gun in this situation.
Many respected citizens and intellectuals say that your organisation has no mass base. Comment.
Who says so? Let them come to the rural areas and see for themselves how we are surviving.
Has the offensive by the Indian army sent ULFA in a disarray?
We are determined to carry on the struggle until we reach our goal. As long as the masses are with us, the Indian army cannot send us in a disarray.