The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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NDFB whiff in Ram drama

New Delhi, May 3: The National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) may have been Ulfa’s ally in the abduction of P.C. Ram.

Since tactical associations, including financial transactions, between militant groups of the Northeast are common, the possibility of Ulfa and a section of the NDFB collaborating in the abduction of the Food Corporation of India executive director is being investigated.

“About a week ago, we found information indicating the NDFB’s involvement,” said a source in one of the security agencies providing inputs to the investigation team.

One of the reasons for suspecting the NDFB’s hand in the abduction is the confirmation that Ram’s abductors whisked him away to a Bodo-dominated area of Lower Assam. However, the issue is being handled with caution because Delhi and Dispur’s ceasefire with the NDFB expires in a month’s time.

Collaborations between militant groups, irrespective of their goals, are as old as militancy itself. The nexus between the United National Liberation Front of Manipur and the NSCN (Khaplang) or the proximity between the Dima Halam Daoga (Jewel Gorlosa) and the NSCN (Isak-Muivah) have long been confirmed.

While an Assam-based outfit may approach the Achik National Volunteers’ Council — active in the Garo Hills of Meghalaya — for help in transit to Bangladesh, the NSCN (K) comes into play when the same group requires access to Myanmar or a base in that country.

In some cases, an outfit that dominates a particular area grants “extortion rights” to an armed group from another state. The NSCN (I-M), for instance, has been accused of allowing the Manipur-based People’s United Liberation Front to collect “tax” from Muslim traders in Dimapur.

It is in this light that security agencies are investigating the NDFB’s probable nexus with Ulfa, particularly in Ram’s abduction.

The head of the FCI’s regional office was abducted from Guwahati on April 17 along with his driver Rabiram Basumatary. The abductors freed Basumatary on April 22, but there is still no trace of Ram. Suspicion about the NDFB’s involvement has only complicated the case.

The NDFB’s ceasefire agreement with Delhi is due for an extension on May 31, but the general feeling is that the outfit has been breaching its commitment to the truce far too often.

On April 24, NDFB leader Govinda Basumatary and his associates held talks with officials of the Union home ministry.

The outfit was asked to keep its members confined to designated camps.

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