The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Police eye on Ulfa helpers
- Four businessmen named in list

Guwahati, May 31: A police report on Ulfa’s support base in the Assam capital names four affluent businessmen and some professionals among the militant group’s most ardent sympathisers and helpers.

An official source said today that all the names mentioned in the report have at some time or the other acted as Ulfa conduits or “rendered their services” to the outfit.

Top police officials handed the report to Governor Ajai Singh earlier this week and discussed how to go about launching a crackdown on these Ulfa supporters. Confirming it, a Raj Bhavan source said the police would compile “activity reports” on each of the suspects within a month.

The police are trying to ascertain whether any of the four businessmen had a role to play in the chain of blasts in the city’s business hub over the past month. What has already been confirmed is that the quartet has long been helping Ulfa replenish its coffers.

“We are keeping tabs on them and gathering more information about their links with the outfit. We will take action against them only with proof that will stand the test. We suspect they have political connections, too, which they could use to wriggle out of trouble,” a police officer said.

Some SIM cards seized by the army from Ulfa members recently were found to be in the names of Congress members. The militants used these SIM cards to dial extortion targets in Upper Assam.

“The Ulfa network is a well-entrenched one and our success in operations against the outfit will be limited till we break this chain,” the police officer said.

Organisations with a discernible pro-Ulfa slant are under the scanner, too. “We are tracking calls and mails received regularly by these contacts of the militant group. We will act against them at the appropriate time,” the officer said.

The police have also found “substantial evidence” of Ulfa’s link with the ISI and some fundamentalist organisations.

Lt Gen. (retd) Singh told police officials during their meeting that he would convince Delhi to sanction the funds required to carry forward the investigation and procure the latest gadgets to track calls and emails.

The meeting also discussed the need for additional forces. The security contingent was depleted when about 40 companies of central forces were relocated to Uttar Pradesh for election duty. Delhi has agreed to redeploy these companies in Assam in response to a request from the state government.

Chief minister Tarun Gogoi, who returned from the capital today, went to Gauhati Medical College and Hospital to enquire about the condition of those wounded in Saturday’s bomb explosion at Athgaon. Six persons died in that incident.


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