File picture of arrested PULF members
May 4: As militant outfits of the region are finding the Assam capital a safe haven with their top leaders taking refuge here, city police have decided to set up a special team to crack down on the rebels.
We have decided to form a special operation team to crack down on other militant outfits which are likely to be operating in the city, a senior police official said.
It has come to light that the city has become a popular hideout for militant groups of the neighbouring states following the interrogation of Kazi Umar Farooq, chairman of the Peoples United Liberation Front (PULF), who was arrested from the city last Monday.
The police official said Kazi has been controlling PULF activities from his hideout in the city since he started staying in his rented house in Chachal from February.
Kazi told his interrogators that several clashes between cadres of three PULF factions took place in Guwahati in the past few months.
The police had only registered these cases as mere criminal offences and did not go deep into these.
The militant leaders have started feeling safe in Guwahati and have decided to stay put here, a police officer said.
He said it was a big mistake on part of the police to have taken those cases as mere petty crimes by some criminals from Manipur.
The police officer referred to the killing of a businessman at a city hotel few months back by unidentified assailants and also the killing of a Manipuri boy and a woman.
Both these killings are results of group clashes between rival factions of militant outfits of Manipur, the officer said.
He said city police have woken up after this stunning revelation by the arrested PULF leader and would probe these cases.
He said Kazi has good connections not only in Assam and other parts of the country but also in the neighbouring countries.
He had made several trips to Bangladesh and Myanmar recently, the officer said.
The police have also seized Kazis passport. The officer said there were no information about any militant leader from Nagaland trying to take refuge in the city but we are now sure that apart from the PULF, several other militant leaders and cadres from Manipur, Tripura and Meghalaya taking shelter in the city.
He said militants from the region are also using the city as a collection centre for extortion notices, which they distribute to businessmen and contractors in their respective states.
City police have also decided to make fresh appeals to the owners of rented houses and hostels to provide detailed information about the occupants soon.
We are thinking of making it mandatory for the landlords to inform the nearest police stations regarding the tenants. We will take legal action if we find someone flouting these norms, the officer said.