Jorhat, Sept. 15: Intensified security operations in Tinsukia district have led senior Maoist leader Moina Dahotia alias Pallab Saikia to flee to Golaghat district, bordering Nagaland.
Police in both the districts, where Left-wing extremists are trying to gain a foothold, have confirmed the development.
Dahotia, self-styled commander of the armed wing of the CPI (Maoists) that operates under the name of Upper Assam Leading Committee, became prominently active after Siddhartha Buragohain, second-in-command of the armed wing in the state, was killed in an encounter with the police in Sadiya subdivision in Tinsukia district in May last year.
Buragohain was a key leader involved in spreading Left-wing extremism in Upper Assam. Dahotia hails from Tangana in Tinsukia district.
The Telegraph in its Saturday edition had mentioned the intensified operations in Tinsukia following the sighting of three listed Maoist cadres, of whom one has been arrested.
Sanjit Gogoi alias Papu Gogoi of number two Ghurania village in Dibrugarh district was arrested from Kakopathar in Tinsukia district late on Friday night along with another Maoist cadre, Tatal Neog of Bormechai village in the district.
A Chinese-made 9mm pistol and four live rounds of ammunition were recovered from them. The duo had come to threaten a small tea grower, who had been served an extortion demand of Rs 5 lakh about 10 days back, at Kakopathar.
The police have been conducting search operations in Kakopathar and the nearby areas bordering Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh in search of Sanjit, Bibek Moran and Baba Mech following intelligence reports of them being spotted in areas near the inter-state boundary.
Police sources said Dahotia is on the run because of stepped-up operations by the security forces.
A senior police official of Tinsukia, requesting anonymity, told this correspondent that the latest intelligence inputs indicated that Dahotia was at Merapani in Golaghat district bordering Nagaland. This has been corroborated by the arrested duo. The official said Golaghat police are searching for Dahotia.
A Golaghat police official said efforts were on to find out Dahotia’s hideout.
He is believed to be moving from one place to another in Merapani, which is part of the disputed area along the inter-state border.
Sources said as the inter-state border at Merapani is marked by hills and dense forests, it suits insurgent activities. Naga insurgent groups, Ulfa and the National Democratic Front of Boroland have earlier set up hideouts in the area to escape the security dragnet.
The CRPF has been deployed along the entire 125km inter-state border in Golaghat district as a neutral force after the 1985 attack by criminals from Nagaland, leading to several deaths.
There have been reports of cadres from Naxal-hit areas visiting Merapani from time to time in the past few years to recruit youths.
Since 2012, two Maoists and four sympathisers have been arrested in Merapani and in October last year Maoists had put up posters in Assamese at Merapani and adjoining Sarupathar town, asking people to support their movement.