| Sanjoy Ghose |
Jorhat, Oct. 23: The body of an Ulfa militant, involved in the killing of social worker Sanjoy Ghose in 1997, was recovered from a forest in Majuli this afternoon.
Police said the body of Rajib Das alias Pradip Baruah was found in a forest near a waterbody close to Shyamdeuri village under Jengraimukh police station. “His family has identified the body,” Jorhat superintendent of police, Sanjukta Parasor, said. Das hailed from Pakajora village under Garmurh police station on the island.
The police suspect that the militant, one of the most wanted men in Upper Assam, was probably suffering from some ailment and his body dumped in the particular area. “We can ascertain the exact cause of death only after the post-mortem,” a police officer of Garmurh police station, said.
However, the outfit today said Das was suffering from a heart-related ailment for sometime and had passed away last night. In a press release issued today, Ulfa condoled his death and declared him a “martyr”.
The CBI had announced a cash reward of Rs 1 lakh for his arrest along with three others involved in the killing of Ghose, the then secretary of AVARD-NE, an NGO working for the development of the islanders, on July 4, 1997. The central agency had charge-sheeted 11 people, including Paresh Barua, who heads an Ulfa faction, in the case. Several of the accused have died in encounters with security forces.
Das was arrested once but he got out on bail and went underground soon after. The police said he was a close aide of Barua and he has been carrying out subversive activities in Upper Assam. “He has been playing a crucial role especially after the A, B and C companies of the outfit’s 28th battalion came overground a few years back. He has been involved in several extortion cases in Majuli recently,” the officer said.
He said Das had managed to escape at least thrice during encounters with security forces in various places in Majuli in the past few years. “In 2009, he had a narrow escape while taking shelter at Baligaon village under Jengraimukh police station. Two of his associates died in that encounter but Das escaped,” he added.