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CIMA Gallary

Myanmar link in attack
- AASU seeks high-level probe, Ulfa claims Congress hand in killing

Jorhat, Nov. 16: Ulfa today called a 12-hour Assam bandh on Monday protesting against the killing of three “innocent” persons at Mandir Chapori yesterday while the police maintained one of the three was indeed a militant of the outfit.

The All Assam Students Union (AASU), too, protested the killing of innocent persons.

Police today claimed that the Ulfa cadre of the Paresh Barua faction killed in an encounter with a joint team of police and army personnel yesterday was in constant touch with the outfit’s Myanmar camp.

The militant has been identified as self-styled Lt Ajit Saikia alias Mama, 50, of Handakhua village under Bihpuria police station in Lakhimpur district.

Saikia and another senior Ulfa rebel, Rajib Das, were taking shelter in a dairy farm there, bordering Jorhat and Sonitpur districts near Majuli. Saikia and two civilians were killed in the encounter while two others were injured.

Jorhat superintendent of police Sanjukta Parasor told The Telegraph that the SIM of the satellite phone recovered from the site revealed that the slain cadre and his associate Das were in close touch with Ulfa’s top leadership in Myanmar. They operated in and around Majuli and along the Brahmaputra.

“We were able to decipher the code used by the militants operating along the Brahmaputra to contact the Myanmar camp,” the SP said. She said the police seized the satellite phone from an Ulfa linkman from the Majuli-Lakhimpur border in August.

Three other rebels were also present at the dairy farm on the chapori during the encounter but they managed to flee, the SP added. The police are conducting search operations on the chaporis along Majuli island.

The family members of the two civilians killed in the crossfire, Bhaben Pegu and Gada Ghose, took the bodies to Hawajan in Sonitpur district after the post-mortem at Jorhat Medical College and Hospital (JMCH). One of the injured, 12-year-old Roshan Toplu, was shifted to Gauhati Medical College and Hospital.

Parasor said Toplu would undergo surgery for the injury on his lips. The other injured, Bogai Das, is undergoing treatment at JMCH.

A release issued by Aranya Asom, a member of the publicity wing, said no Ulfa cadres were present in the area and all the three persons killed and two injured were innocent.

It said the Congress had planned the killings and the involvement of a few party members from Majuli has come to light.

AASU, while condemning the killing of innocent civilians, today demanded a high-level inquiry into the incident and payment of adequate compensation to the next of kin of the deceased and the injured.

AASU activists, led by Jorhat district unit president Biren Saikia, staged a protest in front of the deputy commissioner’s office here. “We condemn the killing of innocent civilians in the name of tackling insurgency,” Saikia said.

The protesters also burnt an effigy of chief minister Tarun Gogoi. Saikia said the magisterial inquiry ordered by the Jorhat deputy commissioner R.C. Jain was not enough and the government should institute a high-level inquiry.