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Glare on Ulfa’s links with GNLA

- Cops claim Assam outfit imparting training to rebels

Shillong, July 26: Meghalaya police today claimed that Ulfa cadres have been imparting training to GNLA militants in making explosives.

Police are also collecting inputs on the blast which occurred near Krishnai police station in Assam’s Goalpara district on Tuesday, to verify whether the Krishnai blast was similar to yesterday’s incident in West Garo Hills.

The statement comes a day after a wired IED was detonated at Tebronggre on the Rongram-Dadenggre road last evening, killing three policemen.

“We are looking at the inputs on the Krishnai blast to see whether it has any similarity with yesterday’s incident,” Meghalaya director-general of police Peter James Pyngrope Hanaman told reporters at the police headquarters here.

According to Hanaman, the police are looking at whether the explosive, which was used in yesterday’s blast, was same as the one used in the Krishnai incident.

One person was killed and three others were injured at Krishnai and Assam police had suspected the role of the Paresh Barua group of Ulfa. Goalpara shares a border with the Garo hills.

In the last few days, the police recovered a huge cache of arms and ammunition belonging to the GNLA during raids. Among the recoveries were a large number of circuits, timers, remote-control sets intended for making IEDs.

On July 11, a raid was conducted at the camp of GNLA’s self-styled commander-in-chief Sohan D. Shira and these items were recovered, police said.

According to the police, the explosives could have been procured from Bangladesh where Ulfa cadres receive training.

While Hanaman maintained that yesterday’s incident would not affect the morale of the police in the ongoing counter-insurgency operations, he cautioned the rank and file to be a “little careful” with the GNLA’s newest capability.

Although there were earlier reports of a link between Pakistan’s ISI and Ulfa, Hanaman said there were no reports of a meeting between the ISI, Ulfa and the GNLA.

The police also believed that Ulfa leader Drishti Rajkhowa, alias Manoj Rabha, is using the Garo hills region as a safe haven.

On the GNLA-Ulfa nexus, Hanaman said that this has provided a different dimension to the problem in the western region of the state.

Inspector-general (operations) G.H.P. Raju said there were inputs that around 15 to 20 Ulfa cadres were present at Shira’s camp in the Durama hill range to train GNLA militants. The Durama hill range extends from Tura peak to near Balpakram in South Garo Hills.

Raju also said some of those who were being kidnapped from Assam are being sent to the Durama hill range until negotiations are made.

While the GNLA had refuted the charge that its cadres were behind yesterday’s incident, Raju said that as per inputs, GNLA cadres like Baichung Ch. Momin, the outfit’s “western command area commander” and Jakrak, along with others, had been camping in the village at least two days before the blast.

Hanaman maintained that the present scenario in the Garo hills was “troublesome”, but not out of control.

On the killings of three policemen, Hanaman said an amount of Rs 1 lakh was released from Meghalaya Police Social Security Scheme to each of the family members of the trio.

The families will receive Rs 7.5 lakh each as ex gratia from the state government and the next of kin of the slain police personnel would be entitled to the last pay drawn by the personnel until the notional date of retirement.

Hanaman further requested the government to consider providing employment to the eligible dependent family members of the personnel on compassionate grounds.