Agartala, Jan. 25: On the eve of Republic Day celebrations, police in Tripura fear possible terror attacks from militants of the banned National Liberation Front of Tripura following reports of resurgence of two groups of heavily-armed NLFT rebels in the hilly areas of Raisyabari and Chhawmanu.
The anxiety has deepened following the reported killing of Sadhan De, 34, one of the nine labourers kidnapped by the NLFT early last month from Bhaibon Cherra under Chhawmanu police station of Dhalai district bordering Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh.
The labourers were kidnapped at gunpoint from the local junior basic school. It was used as a camp for the labourers by a contractor who was in charge of constructing barbed wire fencing along the border.
The contractor abandoned the work site for fear of more attacks, leaving the fencing work unfinished.
Police sources said yesterday a group of NLFT militants injured a truck driver and a passenger when they opened fire on the vehicle on Natun Bazar-Raisyabari road late in the afternoon.
A truck loaded with rice had left for Raisyabari from the Natun Bazar area of South Tripura district around 11am. Around 4.30pm when the truck reached the Sagling Cherra area, a group of NLFT militants hiding in the jungle fired on the vehicle, injuring driver Dipak Kumar Debbarma, 24, and passenger Maran Debnath, 52.
An injured Debbarma managed to drive the truck to Chapling Cherra market before losing consciousness. Debbarma and Debnath were shifted to Raisyabari primary health centre and from there to Gandacherra Hospital.
“This incident and reports of a heightened movement of the militants have become a cause for concern though the security forces are fully prepared to face any situation; earlier when insurgency was at its peak, the banned NLFT and Tiger Force militants used to launch strikes against security and civilian targets on the eve of Republic Day and Independence Day though nothing has happened on these days over the last five years,” deputy inspector-general (operations) Nepal Das said.
He, however, asserted that in view of security threats posed by militants, paramilitary forces have been redeployed and put on high alert to prevent attacks on vulnerable places in the hilly interiors of the state.
“Actually both the NLFT and the Tiger Force have been trying to regroup and make their presence felt for the past few years. Despite their failure to achieve this in the absence of support from indigenous people we have to be on alert; hopefully the Republic Day tomorrow will pass off peacefully,” Das hoped.