Bongaigaon/Kokrajhar, June 18: Police today said the three women and two young men picked up yesterday from New Bongaigaon station are members of the Songbijit faction of the NDFB.
Bijuli Basumatary from Nangdorbari, Pungjali Basumatary from Boldi, Sanima Narzary from Amteka, Simang Narzary from Basugaon and Premosh Mushahary from Runikhata, all in Chirang district, were waiting for a train to Ranchi yesterday afternoon, when the police picked them up after getting specific information.
The five, all in their twenties, were thereafter interrogated at Bongaigaon police station.
According to Bongaigaon superintendent of police, Abhijit Bora, Simang is an NDFB (S) cadre, while the three young women are new recruits. “Bijuli had close relations with a cadre who was killed in an encounter by security forces last year in Kokrajhar district,” he said.
The cadres were produced before the chief judicial magistrate, Bongaigaon, seeking seven-day remand for the two youths and three-day remand for the women.
The police recovered seven mobile handsets, seven SIM cards and some cash from them.
Police sources said the recruits were on their way to Ranchi to receive training from Maoists. “Some non-governmental organisations are backing the recruits to get training from Maoists in Jharkhand,” a source said.
However, the family members of the women have refuted the allegation and said they were going to Ranchi to work as teachers for a Christian missionary.
“My daughter was supposed to go to Ranchi to work as a teacher along with two of her friends when the police picked them up,” Bijuli’s father, Monen, said.
In a related development, security forces have intensified anti-insurgency operations in Kokrajhar and neighbouring areas bordering Bhutan.
A combing operation was carried out today jointly by the police, army and the CRPF in the jungles near Auzarbari in the district, where the NDFB (S) displayed its weapons strength before the media yesterday just after a cadre was killed in an encounter and threatened to strike back.
A senior police officer said operations have been intensified and the security forces put on high alert in the strongholds of the outfit.
Suspected NDFB (S) cadres today lobbed grenades at the police reserve complex at Dimalgaon in Kokrajhar district today. One of the grenades exploded but no damage or casualty was reported. Police sources said two motorcycle-borne men lobbed the grenades near the complex around 2.30pm.
The outfit has around 20 small groups operating in the BTAD and the forested foothills in Bhutan and is suspected to be behind many killing, extortion and abductions in the areas.