India's 'most wanted terrorist' still a railway employee in Assam

India's 'most wanted terrorist' still a railway employee in Assam

India's 'most wanted terrorist' still a railway employee in Assam

 India's most wanted terrorist still a railway employee in Assam: Prakash baruah

Self-styled commander-in-chief of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) Paresh Baruah is an employee of the Northeast Frontier Railways.

He was 21 when he got a porter's job in 1978 under the sports quota (he was a footballer) at the railways in the Tinsukia division in eastern Assam.

"We joined together as a porter at a monthly salary of Rs.370. Paresh Baruah was sincere in his practice sessions (played football for the railways), but by January 1980 he simply vanished not to be seen again," Supriyo Choudhury, now promoted to a conductor in the railways, told IANS.

Baruah, now 52, formed the ULFA in April 1979 along with five others, including self-styled Chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa. Both are now believed to be operating out of Bangladesh, although recent intelligence reports indicate that Baruah might have sneaked into China for shelter.

But Baruah is still registered as an employee of the railways despite three decades of absence from office. "The name Paresh Baruah is significant and he is absent from duties for a very long period. His salary slip shows zero, but he is still an employee according to the records," Sanjoy Mookerjee, deputy railway manager of the Tinsukia division, said.

"There is an enquiry on to find out if the Paresh Baruah who is in our rolls is the same Paresh Baruah (meaning ULFA leader). That time when he joined there were no photographs and so it is difficult to verify the records now."

Hailing from Jeraigaon village in Tinsukia district, about 500 km east of Assam's main city of Guwahati, the elusive Baruah is described as a 'violent man' with red corner notices issued against him and the Interpol on the prowl. The maximum penalty he potentially faces is the death sentence, according to the Assam police.