In a new book from the stables of HarperCollins Publishers India, author Rajeev Bhattacharyya in his book, Rendezvous With Rebels: Journey To Meet India’s Most Wanted Men, says his journey to rebel bases deep inside Myanmar’s Sagaing Division provided new insights on how the campaign strategies of militant groups in India’s Northeast were changing.
Rajeev Bhattacharyya is Guwahati-based writer and journalist. He was founding executive editor of Seven Sisters Post and had earlier worked for The Times of India, The Telegraph, The Indian Express, and Times Now.
The book was launched at the Press Club of India today by former home secretary GK Pillai. The launch was graced by former ambassador, Veena Sikri and authors Kumal Verma and Sanjoy Hazarika.
HarperCollins in its statement said the book is the story of a journalist’s secret assignment to rebel bases in Myanmar where as many as nine separatist outfits from India’s Northeast have pitched tent and have been staging their wars for independence.
During his speech, GK Pillai said, “This book is a courageous effort by the author who has critically examined the many areas where many underground outfits stay and operate in the Northeast of India.”
He also questioned the ideologues and principles on which many undergrounds outfits wage a war against India, while adding, tongue-in-cheek, “the irony is that the top ULFA leader doesn’t allow his children to live in Assam nor learn the Assamese”.
Former ambassador, Veena Sikri, in her remarks, said, “This is a seminal and timely effort since the narrative of militancy in India’s Northeast needs much clarity and discussion, especially given that the socio-economic discourse is changing fast in the region. The Look East Policy must stop delays in projects and there must be action on the ground.”
Escorted by ULFA cadres, Rajeev Bhattacharyya’s journey spanned nearly 800 km through treacherous hilly terrain in the neighboring country often described as “No-Man’s Land” because no government has ever been able to establish authority in the region.
Bhattacharyya stayed in the ULFA camp and interviewed its chief of staff Paresh Baruah and also SS Khaplang, the Naga rebel chief, regarded as the godfather of the region. He returned after 3 months and 20 twenty days to tell the fascinating tale about these groups and the people inhabiting the region.