The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ulfa leader admits training KLO

Jalpaiguri, Sept. 21: Ulfa commander Gautam Seal, who was recently arrested by Assam Police in Dhubri, has narrated in detail how the militant outfit has been training rebels of the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO) at its camps in the dense forests of Bhutan’s Piping area.

Seal was produced at the Jalpaiguri court today. The police have asked for a 10-day remand for further interrogation.

“It is definite that he can provide us with many more leads about extremist activities in north Bengal. He knows many details about the KLO, too,” said Siddh Nath Gupta, superintendent of police, Jalpaiguri.

Seal, who was brought here to be interrogated by Bengal police on Ulfa-KLO links, said around 200 KLO cadets were undergoing training at the camp the last time he visited Piping. According to Seal, the Piping camp is at present headed by Rustom Choudhury, alias K.D. Gautam, who joined the Ulfa in 1994.

The Ulfa leader said many among the first batch of KLO members trained there had gone on to become front-ranking leaders of the organisation.

The second batch of KLO militants also took training from Ulfa leaders at the Barpeta camp.

Seal said he had first received training at the Ulfa training centre in Dhubri and had then gone to Mithun Pahar.

Later, he worked for the KLO as part of the Ulfa-KLO “tie-up”. He, however, denied involvement in any of the murders that the KLO is accused of having executed.

While staying at the “group headquarters”, Seal got information that his wife was pregnant and rushed to his village under the Bilasipara police station area of Dhubri district, where he was arrested.

Seal has expressed the desire to surrender and help the police for the sake of his wife and baby. His hopes of an independent state has also faded.

“There is nothing we can achieve by running from the police and spending our entire life in the camps,” he admitted.

Seal said Ulfa leaders stay with their families at Mithun Pahar, located between Kawapani and Deothang in Bhutan. The place is like a military cantonment. Located on a hilly terrain, it is ringed with barbed wire fences and has bunkers from where guards keep vigil. It has plastic tents, huts and generators.

Seal also described the location of the Ulfa camps to the police. Besides Piping, there are three more camps known as the “number seven battalion” camp, the Nalbari camp and the Dibrugarh camp.

Activities at Mithun Pahar are headed by Jeet Kalita, Ulfa’s second-in-command. Leaders like Bening Rava and “major” Robin Neu also stay there.

According to Seal, every Ulfa camp has AK-56 and AK-47 assault rifles, a universal machine gun, detonators, gelatine sticks, fuses, grenades and other accessories to prepare improvised explosive devices.

Mithun Pahar has the capacity to send at least 300-400 activists armed with sophisticated weapons to any camp at any time. Its cadets include men and women. The group’s headquarters has about 400 radio transmitters to maintain the network.

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