Calcutta, April 9: Two Manipur militants on a recruitment drive at Jadavpur University were picked up by military intelligence on Sunday from a central Calcutta hotel where they had spent a month.
Two of their comrades, who had been staying in a rented house in Jadavpur for the past six months, were caught on arrival at Imphal airport from Calcutta the day before.
The People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (Prepak) has been targeting “outsiders” or non-Manipuris in the Northeast state since 1977.
Rakesh Singh alias Leishamba and R.K. Dhanashwar alias Changlamba, who were caught at the Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road hotel, revealed that they were on a mission to rec-ruit northeastern students from Jadavpur and some other institutions in the city.
Y. Sanjay Singh and Leishram Singh, who fell into a Manipur police net in Imphal, were also on the same job.
“Sanjay, the outfit’s finance secretary, and Leishram, who looks after political affairs, spent six months in Jadavpur pretending to be university students. Their task was to interact with students from the Northeast and spread the organisation’s activities,” an army spokesperson said.
The joint team of the army and the CID that raided the hotel also searched Sanjay’s and Leishram’s home in Jadavpur and recovered CDs and software. “We are yet to examine the evidence,” the army said.
Dhanashwar is said to be a self-styled captain of the outlawed organisation and Rakesh a lieutenant.
The chairman of the outfit, Santi alias Chinglemba, was in Jadavpur three months ago. “Now in Bangkok, he was here to discuss strategy to influence JU students,” an army official said.
Intelligence reports and recent arrests suggest the city is a haven for terrorists, who use it for transit and as a hideout. The Manipur militants spent months in the heart of the city without arousing any suspicion.
Army officials expressed concern about poor police surveillance. “We know that south Calcutta has become a base for Northeast outfits because a number of students from the region come to study in JU. But there is no strict vigil,” the army spokesperson said.
The city police’s detective department arrested a Lashkar-e-Toiba activist from Ben- tinck Street last year. The catch led to more arrests outside the state.
Those who attacked the American Center in 2002 were holed up in Tiljala for over a month.