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New Ulfa bases create concern

Jorhat, Sept. 20: Stepped-up activity in Upper Assam by Ulfa hardliners from camps reportedly set up at Manabhum and Kharsang in Arun-achal Pradesh’s Changlang district has become a major headache for Assam police.

Official sources told The Telegraph that in a communiqué to Dispur a few days back, a senior government official posted in Upper Assam said Ulfa’s Paresh Barua faction had recently set up several camps in the two areas bordering Tinsukia district with help from NSCN’s Khaplang faction. It was carrying out extortion drives and directing subversive activities in Assam from these camps, the communiqué to the chief secretary stated.

The official, quoting intelligence reports and information given to Tinsukia police by arrested Ulfa militants and linkmen, stated in the report that the camps had been set up under the command of one Rohendra Moran, a former office-bearer of the All Assam Moran Students’ Union and an active cadre. The NSCN faction, that has a ceasefire pact with the Centre, was providing logistical support to the Ulfa cadres, with help from local Naga villagers.

It said during investigation, the police had also traced extortion calls made to different persons and organisations by Ulfa cadres in recent times to mobile towers in Kharsang and Manabhum. The report said the NSCN (K) was active in the said areas owing to the “failure” of central forces deputed there for counter-insurgency operations.

The message said it was important for the Assam government to bring the matter (inaction of central forces) to the notice of the Centre and request joint operations by Assam and Arunachal police in these areas to flush out Ulfa rebels.

Sources said the report called for early action, while cautioning that otherwise Tinsukia, Dibrugarh and Siva-sagar districts might become more vulnerable to Ulfa strikes. There have been three bomb blasts in Upper Assam districts this month, two in Tinsukia and one in Golaghat.

The sources said the threat from Ulfa would remain high if action was not taken to clear the camps at the earliest, as a large number of oil installations were located in Upper Assam districts. They added that the areas mentioned in the report fell under the coal belt of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh where coal cartels were developing and getting involved in illegal coal trade.

The nexus with the coal cartels was helping the rebels strengthen their financial base and this, in turn, could mean increased subversive activities in future, the sources warned.

The Tinsukia administration, in a report to Dispur sometime back quoting intelligence inputs, had said “creation of huge amounts of slush funds through illegal diversion and exploitation of coal” by militant groups in league with local goons had led to criminalisation of many institutions and triggered tension in the area. It said in February this year, NSCN rebels had even torched a few Tinsukia businessmen’s trucks in Arunachal Pradesh.


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