The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Ex-rebels on rebel trail

Siliguri, Dec. 5: Surrendered Ulfa militants have now come to the rescue of Bengal police, grappling with rising militancy in the north.

A meeting in Guwahati between the police brass from Assam and Bengal, to discuss the “common problem” of militancy, has decided to press the “surrendered” members of the United Liberation Front of Asom (Sulfa) into the service of the north Bengal police. A total of 10 former militants would be sent to lead the police into the militant hideouts.

Highly-placed sources present at the meeting said the Sulfas, known as spotters in police parlance, are aware of the routes and forest corridors used by the Ulfa and its ally, the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation. Besides, they know the militants — their former colleagues — and their sympathisers in the inhospitable, mountainous region bordering Bhutan.

Inspector-general, north, Bhupinder Singh said police forces from both states would jointly patrol areas on the Bengal-Assam border to try and prevent the militants from sneaking in and out. “The modalities are being worked out and the patrolling would start soon,” he said.

Sources said inspector-general of Assam police (law and order) S.B. Kakati had mooted the proposal for joint patrolling. The police have also decided to keep an eye on the porous stretches of the border from Nalbari to Dhubri on the Assam side and Rangamati to Bakshirhat in Bengal. These areas have been identified as “most vulnerable.”

The meeting put great stress on building a radio network for the forces from both states. An integrated wireless system would be built to share information among the police stations on either side. “The high-powered radio network would bypass the central wireless police organisation’s regulations and would be faster and clearer,” said an officer.

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