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Since 1st March, 1999
 
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Traders held for Ulfa link

Guwahati, Sept. 8: Guwahati police today picked up two businessmen from the Fancy Bazar area for their suspected links with Ulfa.

A source said Anil Jain and his brother Niru were apprehended from their residence in Fancy Bazar for their alleged involvement in an extortion case in Barpeta district.

Senior police officers, however, remain tightlipped.

“The accused were detained this morning following a request from Barpeta police,” the source said.

“The brothers are suspected to be Ulfa conduits who would help the outfit extort money from certain persons in Barpeta,” the source said.

Superintendent of police, Barpeta, D. Upadhaya, said: “Right now I can only say that we have requested Guwahati police to detain them as the duo are wanted in connection with an important case registered in our district. Our team has left for Guwahati to bring them here for interrogation. I can furnish details only after their interrogation.”

According to official sources, a confidential report submitted to Governor Ajai Singh by police in May this year mentioned the names of four affluent businessmen and several professionals suspected to be Ulfa sympathisers.

A police source alleged that some members of the business community are hand-in-glove with Ulfa and helping the militants identify potential targets within their fraternity for extortion.

The police claim that that they have sufficient intelligence inputs to substantiate their claim.

The last time businessmen were held for their alleged Ulfa links was on June 23, when Pradip Kumar Khandelia, Manik Chand Kedia, Radheshyam Sharma and Bikash Agarwalla were arrested in Sivasagar district.

“We are probing these cases and they will be arrested as soon as we gather evidence,” the source said.

Last month, police arrested Kailash Sharma, an Ulfa negotiator, from Shantipur under Bharalumukh police station in Guwahati. He used to broker deals between businessmen and the outfit.

“Sharma used to negotiate on behalf of the businessmen in lieu of commission. For instance, if Ulfa demands Rs 100, he settles it for Rs 75,” an officer said.

Nearly 500 businessmen and residents took out a silent procession in Tinsukia in July following the killing of an owner of a grocery shop by suspected Ulfa militants. Traders downed shutters in protest against the government’s failure to prevent such incidents.

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