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‘Mentally ill’ but on extortion spree

- Cops watch Nayanbasi closely

Agartala, Feb. 12: From a scam-tainted constable with Tripura State Rifles to a militant commander to an extortionist even in his allegedly mentally unstable condition — Nayanbasi Jamatya has lived a chequered life of crime.

Nayanbasi had fled TSR, battalion 1, in 1991 at the age of 25 to join the militant National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) after being allegedly framed in a corruption scam.

After 23 long years, which he spent as an outlaw feared for his killing spree, he is back home at Trishabari under Teliamura subdivision in Tripura’s Khowai district, but allegedly in a mentally unstable condition. He is now accused of extorting local businessmen.

Police personnel in Tripura have got in touch with him and warned him but Nayanbasi is not in a state of mind to abide by sane counsel, they said.

Since as a jawan of the TSR he had the basic training and skill in handling arms, ammunition and explosives, Nayanbasi had to go through only a brief orientation course in laying ambush on security forces and resisting assaults on militant groups by them. Nayanbasi earned kudos in his militant group for his operational skill, not only for pulling off successful ambushes on police and paramilitary forces but also for mobilising funds through organised extortion.

All had been going well till a serious ethnic problem created fissures in the well-knit NLFT. A member of the devout Hindu indigenous Jamatya community, Nayanbasi found it difficult to adjust to the evangelical zeal of his comrades and gun-point conversion of indigenous people to Christianity.

“His basic problem stemmed from the successful resistance movement launched by Bikram Bahadur Jamatya, the celebrated okra (head priest) of Jamatya Hoda (supreme community council), in 1999,” said additional superintendent of police Bikash Roy.

Fed up with the NLFT’s tinkering with the religious faith of his people coupled with the cold-blooded murder of four RSS pracharaks (propagators) having close links with Jamatya Hoda in early 2000 for the RSS’s refusal to pay ransom, Nayanbasi started drifting.

“In January 2001, Nayanbasi fled the NLFT headquarters in Chittagong Hill Tracts with a considerable number of arms, ammunition and followers to form his outfit, NLFT (Nayan).

Nayanbasi, who married Tahera Begum, the widowed daughter of a Bangladeshi dacoit in Srimangal sub-district, started carrying out murderous assaults on security forces and civilians in the Sadar (south) area from his base in the Srimangal and Chunarughat areas of Bangladesh.

“His most successful operation was the massacre of 20 TSR jawans of the 5th battalion at Hirapur under Bishalgarh subdivision on August 20, 2002, He looted all the arms and ammunition,” Roy said.

A co-ordinated offensive launched by the state police and all paramilitary forces, including the Assam Rifles, soon after put militants of all hues under pressure. Within two years, in April 2004, Nayanbasi came overground with his followers for peace talks after the then Tripura director-general of police G.M. Srivastava assured him of safe passage back if he was not satisfied with the terms and conditions.

“Nayanbasi held talks with governor Dinesh Nandan Sahay and Union home minister L.K. Advani but his unreasonable demand that he be made the chief minister of Tripura like late Laldenga in Mizoram spoilt his case,” Roy said. Finally, deserted by his followers, Nayanbasi returned alone to Bangladesh within two months and was imprisoned there.

Having served a nine-year jail term, Nayanbasi suddenly returned home in September last year, apparently mentally ill and a with a hand that appeared to have contracted gangrene, worsened by high blood sugar.

Sitting quiet for a while under treatment, Nayanbasi has now launched an extortion drive demanding Rs 15,000 each from owners of two brick-kilns near his home in Teliamura.

“According to our information, Nayanbasi had asked for two motorbikes and Rs 15,000 each from the brick kiln owners by January 30 but when the payment was not made he appeared in the offices of the kiln owners with a takkal (flat machete used by indigenous people) and threatened them with dire consequences unless they paid him Rs 10 lakh each by February 10,” Pranab Sengupta, officer-in-charge of Teliamura police station said, adding that Nayanbasi was now “mentally ill” and needed to be dealt with differently.

It’s past the deadline but the police are keeping a strict watch over him. “We are keeping a strict watch over his movement and activities. If he continues like this, we may be forced to confine him to an asylum for mental patients,” Sengupta said.


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