Guwahati, Oct. 1: A mob lynched one of the lynchpins of Ulfa’s notorious 28 Battalion a day after it triggered four blasts in Upper Assam, killing five persons and damaging two oil and gas pipelines.
Mangal Singh, a “sergeant major” in the battalion’s “B Company”, and two accomplices were trying to intimidate a panchayat member into paying them a huge amount of money when residents of 1 Joraguri village in Golaghat district caught them and delivered mob justice.
By the time a police team reached the village from the nearest town, Dergaon, the villagers had taken out their anger on Mangal and his accomplices — Monikanta Sare, a conduit for Ulfa, and Ganesh Pegu, a surrendered militant. The police took the trio to Dergaon Civil Hospital, but Mangal could not be revived.
The incident occurred in the house of AGP member Sajal Chakraborty, who had received several calls from a stranger — he identified himself as one Amrit Goswami — before Mangal came calling.
Chakraborty, a councillor of the Paschim Brahmaputra Anchalik Panchayat and owner of a restaurant in Dergaon town, told The Telegraph that the caller wanted to meet him to discuss “important” things. “I asked him to come over today for a discussion on the issue, whatever it was. I was slapped twice without any provocation,” he said.
Mangal and his accomplices reached Chakraborty’s house on two motorbikes around 9am. The Ulfa militant entered the house and asked for the panchayat member while his accomplices waited at the door.
When Chakraborty identified himself, Mangal slapped him twice and demanded a contribution to the Ulfa coffers. When the panchayat member retaliated by grabbing him by his shirt, the militant whipped out a pistol from his pocket and fired two rounds.
The bullets missed Chakraborty by a few inches, the police said.
As Chakraborty’s family members shouted for help, neighbours who were alerted by gunshots converged on the house and caught Mangal and his accomplices. “It was a free-for-all after that,” a police officer said from Dergaon.
The police have no record of Monikanta’s involvement with Ulfa but investigators believe he has been a conduit for the militant group.
On Ganesh, the officer said he surrendered about three years ago but did not mend his ways. “He has been a nuisance, involved in fights and drunken brawls in and around Dergaon town.”
Sources said Chakraborty recently had an argument with Ganesh over a market lease in Amguri. Ganesh may have sought Mangal’s help to get even, they said.
He and Monikanta were shifted to Golaghat Civil Hospital from Dergaon after Mangal died. Monikanta’s condition was stated to be critical.
An Italy-made pistol, Rs 5,000, four mobile phones and as many SIM cards, as well as a sheaf of extortion notices were found on the extortionists.
Mangal, who was from Senaichouk village near Pulibor in Jorhat district, joined Ulfa in 1993 and played a role in several incidents of subversion in Jorhat, Golaghat and Karbi Anglong districts. He was arrested once in 2004 and booked under the National Security Act, but jumped bail. He was since on the police’s most-wanted list.
Ulfa’s 28 Battalion has been Ulfa’s strongest weapon in Upper Assam, masterminding almost all blasts and attacks on civilians and security forces in the area. Yesterday’s blasts in Tinsukia and Dibrugarh districts came after a period of relative calm.
Seven Ulfa militants, including a woman cadre, surrendered before the army at Laipuli in Assam's Tinsukia district on Monday. They did not deposit any arms and ammunition.
Two Ulfa linkmen were apprehended by 21 Jat Regiment from Jhagrarpar in Assam's Dhubri district on Monday. One pistol and some blank notepads of the outfit were found on them.