Agartala, Sept. 9: Heightened movement of banned National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) militants in the hilly interiors of Tripura and reports about a fresh offensive by them have become a source of major concern for the state government as Tripura moves towards Assembly elections scheduled in February next year.
Last Friday, a jhumia (shifting cultivator), Padmamohan Tripura, was hit by a bullet fired by NLFT militants in the jungles of Ganganagar for refusing to pay “tax” to the outfit. Despite combing operations by a combined force of police and TSR jawans, led by SDPO (Gandacherra), Bikram Debbaram, nobody has been tracked down or arrested.
However, the incident that has rattled the state administration was the arrest of two hardcore NLFT militants, Jagalal Tripura, 26, and Maharaj Chakma, 32, from Kanchanpur market where the duo had come in plainclothes for shopping.
DIG (operations) Nepal Chandra Das said Jagalal Tripura is a resident of the Rangamati area in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh while Maharaj Chakma is a resident of Rajivnagar in Mammith district of Mizoram.
“Both of them are listed militants working for the outfit for many years. Yesterday, they came to purchase provisions and medicines from Kanchanpur market for their colleagues holed up in a remote area close to the Bangladesh border,” said Das.
He said sources in the special branch (intelligence wing) of the state police had identified the militants and informed officers of Kanchanpur police station.
However, the major concern of the police is the information extracted from the two militants in the course of “primary interrogation”.
“They have disclosed the NLFT’s plan to launch fresh attacks on security and civilian targets in the run-up to the elections to disrupt the polling process,” said Das.
He said the NLFT was trying to replenish its depleted coffers by going on an extortion spree. “All the indigenous people — poor or rich — are being forced to pay, especially indigenous people engaged in rubber cultivation; besides, a recruitment drive is also on,” said Das.
He, however, said soon the police and TSR jawans would launch joint “special search operations” to neutralise the NLFT’s camps and hideouts and apprehend the militants.
“I cannot disclose all the details of our plan but as part of the comprehensive operations, TSR camps in the interior areas will be realigned and strengthened with deployment of additional forces; the CRPF will also be deployed for counter-insurgency operations in a big way. This, coupled with other measures, should ensure free and fair elections,” said Das.