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Cops smell NSCN-K role in explosives haul

Silchar, May 4: Cachar police are yet to zero in on the real “culprits” who were trying to transport a huge quantity of explosives that was seized in the district’s Lakhipur sub-division on Thursday evening.

Four persons were arrested in this connection but the police suspect they are small players. Apparently, the explosives were meant to be used to trigger a blast on the fourth vehicular bridge on the Barak river near Pailapoor township in the sub-division.

The sub-divisional police officer of Lakhipur, Anjan Pandit, told The Telegraph on Thursday night that the police had got hold of some clues in this regard and they would unearth the truth “very shortly”. However, other police sources said the NSCN (Khaplang) was behind the incident.

The bus driver, cleaner and two suspected couriers were taken into the custody on Thursday evening. Police sources said the explosives were neatly concealed in a plastic packet.

They included an IED, 35 gelignite (blasting gelatin) sticks, caches of nitroglycerin and nitrocellulose and 20 powerful detonators.

Cachar superintendent of police Diganta Bora confirmed that aim was to blow up the bridge, disrupting the heavy traffic flow between this town and Imphal in Manipur.

Police sources said militants in Manipur were desperate to disrupt traffic along NH 53 because it was being used as alternative route to transport goods to and from Manipur.

Transporters are increasingly using the Cachar road corridor into neighbouring Manipur because the Dimapur-Imphal road has become a beehive of extortion and forcible tax collection from truck operators by militant groups.

Explosives experts from the 27th battalion of the Assam Rifles defused the explosives recovered at Sibtilla.

The police said on Friday that a hand-drawn map depicting the route of the highway between Pailapool square and Fulertal bridge on the Barak was found from one of the arrested persons.