Gangtok, Jan. 1: Sikkim police today busted the den of Bodo top gun Dhiren Boro, catching off guard the Assam militant, his wife and two associates.
Boro is the vice-president of the banned National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) and had been living in Sikkim, considered a haven for rebels looking for shelter, under a false identity for the past one year.
He has been booked under four sections of the Prevention of Terrorism Act, the first time the law has been used in Sikkim. The militant is wanted in several cases in Assam and had been on the run from police and security forces for nearly a decade.
According to the police, Boro had been living in a rented flat in the flour-mill area at Tadong for the last one year.
In Guwahati, inspector-general of police (special branch) Khagen Sharma said a police team would leave for Gangtok tomorrow and take the arrested leader in its custody and bring him to the state for interrogation. Boro has been associated with the militant outfit since its birth and is considered a thinktank of the rebel group.
The prize catch follows the arrest of two suspected NDFB rebels from a forest in Alipurduar yesterday. On November 26 last year, the special operations unit of the Assam police arrested NDFB general secretary Gobinda Basumatary alias B. Swmkhwr at Rangiya railway station in Kamrup district.
Sikkim director-general of police T.N. Tenzing said his men, who had been keeping tabs on the NDFB leader for the past few months, confronted Boro at his flat early this morning.
Boro had been living there with his wife, Pratima, and their two children. Police said Pratima is also a trained and active activist of the NDFB. The arrested associates have been identified as Babloo Sargari and Prabin Boro.
Boro’s four-year-old daughter is studying at Holy Cross School in Tadong. The couple had a son two-and-a-half months ago.
The police recovered explosive material and two live grenades from the flat. A cellphone and a computer with e-mail addresses of the people the rebel leader was in touch with.
Boro, who also doubled as the military and organisation secretary of the NDFB, had been living under the name of Bipul Sonowal in Gangtok and claimed that he was a fruit merchant and stockbroker.
Those living in the locality said the family kept to themselves and did not mingle with neighbours.
The police said Boro maintained contact with NDFB colleagues and with members of outfits in West Bengal and Bhutan, including the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation.
Boro had visited Pokhara in Nepal in April this year. Currencies of the country have been recovered from the flat.
Sikkim deputy inspector-general of police S.D. Negi and IGP (special branch) Abhijeet Datta, who are handling the case, said Boro may have been carrying out coordination and fund-raising operations from his hideout here.
He was last arrested by the army in 1993 but was released on bail. Since then, he has been on the run.
Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi said his government was pursuing “Track-II diplomacy” to bring the NDFB and Ulfa to the negotiating table. He, however, declined to divulge details.