GUWAHATI: The elusive commander-in-chief of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), Paresh Baruah, Thursday claimed his teenaged son was kidnapped and held hostage to exert mental pressure on his family and to force him to surrender.
"My son has been kidnapped and then held hostage with the sole idea of putting mental pressure on us and then force us to surrender, or make us to dilute our stand and ideology for which we have been fighting," Paresh Baruah said in an e-mail statement received by IANS.
The ULFA leader, however, did not specify who or where from his son was kidnapped and held hostage.
According to Indian intelligence sources, Paresh Baruah's son Akash, 19, is a college student in Bangladesh capital Dhaka.
It is assumed Akash was kidnapped from Dhaka earlier this week, although no details are available so far.
"My son is not important or bigger than my people and the cause for which we are struggling. No one can make me or my family weak just because my son has been kidnapped, and let me tell you, we are prepared to sacrifice our son but at no cost I would waiver on my stand," the self-exiled ULFA commander-in-chief said.
Paresh Baruah is believed to be in hiding somewhere along the Myanmar-China border after he fled Bangladesh early 2008.
Intelligence agencies believe Paresh Baruah's wife and son are based in Dhaka under fake identities.
"My appeal now to all our leaders is to ensure that they don't compromise or surrender before the Indian government on the outfit's goal and ideology while opening peace talks," the ULFA leader said.
"We are not opposed to peace talks, but any such negotiations would have to be held as per our avowed ideologies."
Almost the entire ULFA leadership, including its chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa, has been arrested in recent years and jailed, while the government is now freeing these leaders on bail to pave the way for peace talks. The outfit itself came under tremendous pressure to open the dialogue with the government after its premier strike force rebelled against violence and surrendered.