United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent)
Why in News?
- This article talks about the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA).
- ULFA was formed in April 1979 as an offshoot of the Assam Agitation that sought to free the State from foreigners.
- The outfit split into the larger pro-talks group and the Paresh Baruah-headed anti-talks faction, which renamed itself the ULFA(I) in 2013.
- It seeks to establish an independent sovereign nation state of Assam for the indigenous Assamese people through an armed struggle in the Assam conflict.
- The Government of India banned the organisation in 1990 citing it as a terrorist organisation, while the United States Department of State lists it under “other groups of concern.”
- Outfit uses social media to recruit cadres.Sub-nationalist Assamese poems and similar content on social Media are used to convince youth to take up armed revolution against the “Indian colonialists” represented by the armed forces.
- Several spotters of the extremist group are assigned to recruit fresh faces from villages in Assam.
- In February 2022, the ULFA(I) refuted the “theories” that it undertakes recruitment drives through social media platforms and blamed the Assam police and the Army for creating fake Facebook accounts in the name of the outfit to discredit ULFA(I).
- But in April 2022, Chief Minister of Assam insisted that the outfit had used Facebook, YouTube and other platforms to lure and induct at least 47 boys and girls into its ranks within a few days.
Eroding Support Base:
- Information gathered from surrendered extremists points to the outfit finding fewer takers than in the past.
- The Indian Army is pre-training teenagers to improve their chances of recruitment in the security forces.
- The Indian Army is also organising vocational courses and coaching classes to prepare local youth from underprivileged families for admission to top colleges across the country. This outreach is also usually done through social media platforms.
- Once they join the organisation, the outfit forbids the use of mobile phones. This meant that they had to cut ties with the very social media channels that had initially drawn them to the ULFA(I). This is making youth quit the outfit.
- Improved connectivity including telecom and roads has ensured rapid development of the villages which further makes the recruitment difficult for the outfit.