Kumargram (Jalpaiguri), Aug. 2: Three men, reportedly of the United Liberation Front of Assam, were killed in an encounter with police in this North Bengal district this morning in which one policeman was injured.
Jalpaiguri police superintendent Siddhnath Gupta said later today that the Kumargram police had received information that some Ulfa militants had left their camp in neighbouring Bhutan and had entered the police station’s jurisdiction.
“The officer-in-charge of Kumargram police station, Basudeb Sarkar, rushed to the south Haldibari area,” the police official said.
The police challenged three men who approached them on bicycles. The men promptly dismounted and began firing at the security personnel.
“The police shot back and, in the encounter that lasted for just about 30 minutes, fired 26 rounds. All three militants were killed in the encounter,” said the police official.
The district police superintendent said the militants were going from Kalikhola in the neighbouring country towards Dhubri in Assam.
Two of the militants have been identified as Arup Sharma of Dhubri and Rajesh Chandra Roy of Gossaingaon, both in Assam.
“We have informed the Assam police and I think they will be able to identify the third body. We also will get a lot of information from the letters and the CDs that we recovered from the three men,” said the police official.
The articles recovered from the encounter site spot in the Alipurduar subdivision of the district include two Chinese-made pistols, 52 rounds of live cartridges, extortion letters and a wireless set, said a police source.
Police also found tape recorders, compact discs and Rs 32,000 in cash at the site, added the source.
The source said the Haldibari area where the encounter took place is a hub of the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation as well and the Ulfa took advantage of this.
For the past few days, the police had been receiving information that some Ulfa militants were moving out of its camps, said Sarkar.
“We were getting the information after the militants had left the Kumargram area,” he said.
The Kumargram police official said more militants might have been following the group that was killed by the police and might have fled the area when the encounter was taking place.
On July 26, Rustam Chowdhury, a leading Ulfa activist, was shot by the police near the Sankosh forest in Kumargram. Two militants, however, managed to escape.
Intelligence sources said the organisation has been disbanding its camps in the dense forests in Kalikhola in Bhutan, which skirts the border with India.
This move follows an ultimatum issued by the Bhutan government to the militants to leave the country or face military action.
“The Ulfa, after receiving the ultimatum from the Bhutan government, is planning to shift base to Bangladesh and they are now trickling out in small groups with their equipment and cash,” pointed out the intelligence official.
“The large quantity of live ammunition signifies that they were not out on an operation as they never carry such a huge load during an operation,” said the official.