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RNLF chief arrested

Goalpara, Nov. 26: The chief of militant Rabha National Liberation Front was arrested from Dudhnoi railway station in Goalpara district last night.

The police said they had information that RNLF leaderBhargav Rangkho alias Sunil Rabha was going to Guwahati with a companion. While they could apprehend Rangkho, his companion managed to flee under cover of darkness.

The RNLF was formed in 1997 with the objective of putting pressure on the government to bring the Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council under the Sixth Schedule. The police said the organisation had a strong base when it was formed but had become weak over time. “According to our information, they have only 16 or 17 cadres,” Goalpara superintendent of police Nitul Gogoi said.

Rangkho said his organisation was still strong and active. “We still have a large number of cadres and arms and ammunition. We demand Sixth Schedule in Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council and are ready to discuss this with the government if they want,” he told reporters while being brought to the Goalpara police station.

The RNLF has been involved in extortion, kidnapping, murder and other illegal activities in Goalpara district, especially on the Assam-Meghalaya border.

On the night of November 14, six cadres of the outfit had kidnapped an officer of the sericulture department from Chotomatia under Dudhnoi police station. On November 24, when the officer was being shifted to another place in an autorikshaw, the police opened fire on the militants, killing four of them. The officer was rescued.

Two RNLF cadres were arrested in Guwahati on October 23 on their way to Shillong via Sonapur on the city’s outskirts. Two pistols were seized from them.