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Rebels held in Calcutta

Calcutta, Dec. 20: Seven Manipuri militants were smoked out of their south Calcutta flat in the early hours today in a joint operation by police and sleuths of military intelligence.

The arrested, including three women, are members of Shanti, alias Chinglemba, faction of the People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (Prepak). They were residing in a first floor flat in Bapuji Nagar in Jadavpur.

Army sources said the seven had come to the city because of stepped-up army operations in Manipur and were camping here for the past two days to collect funds from overseas. The leader of the group, 27-year-old Maisnam German Singh, had rented the flat since April, paying Rs 3,000 to its owner, Kartik Chakrabarty.

This is the second time in the past eight months when members of the outfit ó Prepak ó have been flushed out from the city. On April 9, two top-rung leaders ó Seshamba alias Rakesh Singh and R.K. Dhanshwar alias Changlamba ó were arrested from Regent Park in south Calcutta while two others ó Y. Sanjay Singh and Ibobi Singh, who managed to sneak out, were later arrested after they landed at Imphal airport.

“While German Singh was the only constant face around, his associates changed every month, suggesting that the group was trying to set up a base here from where it would hold meetings and chalk out strategies,” said group captain R.K. Das, the chief public relations officer of the army. “But right now, it seems they were more keen to receive foreign funds.”

As the troops stormed the flat around 3.30 in the morning, the seven, including three couples, struggled to wake up and realise what was on. Apart from the party literature and leaflets, the sleuths have seized eight mobile phones with Calcutta and Manipur numbers along with CDs and a video camera.

“We have informed Manipur police and even asked the central intelligence agencies to look into the case,” said Prasad Ranjan Ray, state home secretary.

Sources in military intelligence claimed that members had picked the city’s southern fringe ó Bapuji Nagar, Sulekha and Baghajatin ó because there is a huge concentration of students from the Northeast in those areas. The idea was to pass off as students.

Intelligence agencies claimed German Singh and Gunindo Singh have several charges against them in Manipur, including extortion, carrying arms and even waging war against the nation.

“German claimed he was a computer professional while taking the flat on rent. We have informed the ADG IB, Manipur, and the superintendent of police, West Imphal. A team is scheduled to arrive soon from Manipur,” said Praveen Kumar, SP, South 24-Parganas.

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