Peaceniks warned of attack


Arabinda Rajkhowa
Jorhat, June 23: Assam police have warned leaders of pro-talks group of Ulfa to be on guard as they could come under attack from the anti-talks cadres of the outfit.
The deputy inspector-general of police (eastern range), Anurag Tankha, told The Telegraph that there was information about the anti-talks faction of Ulfa trying to regroup in Mon district of Nagaland, bordering Sivasagar district. Cadres of the pro-talks group could be their main target, he added.
A meeting in this regard was held at the Gas Authority of India Ltd’s guesthouse in Sivasagar district a couple of days back which was attended among others by Ulfa chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa, senior police and army officers.
Bhaiti Barua, another leader of the pro-talks group also attended the meeting.
Tankha said the pro-talks leaders staying in Sivasagar district were more vulnerable as the district shares a border with Mon district of Nagaland where cadres of the anti-talks faction were trying to set up a base.
“It will be easy for them to cross the border, strike and return back to Nagaland,” Tankha said. Sivasagar district houses at least six leaders of the pro-talks group of Ulfa, including the outfit’s chairman Rajkhowa who hails from the Lakwa area.
Vice-chairman Pradip Gogoi also belongs to Sivasagar district.
Tankha said the leaders of the 28 battalion of Ulfa — Mrinal Hazarika, Prabal Neog and Jiten Dutta — had also been cautioned as the anti-talk faction is trying to increase its activities in Tinsukia district.
Most of the cadres of the 28 battalion of Ulfa, who have declared a unilateral ceasefire in June, 2008, are currently staying in designated camps in Tinsukia district. There are reports that the anti-talks faction of Ulfa is issuing extortion notices to a few businessmen in Tinsukia district recently.
Two Ulfa cadres of the anti-talks faction were also injured in an encounter with security forces in the Doomdooma area in Tinsukia district recently.
An AK-56 rifle was recovered from the duo who are at present undergoing treatment at Assam Medical College Hospital in Dibrugarh.
Prabal Neog, a leader of the 28 battalion, said he had received a communiqué from the police asking him to be careful as he might come under attack from the anti-talks faction. “I have received such a letter from the Tinsukia superintendent of police recently,” Neog said.
Sources said leaders of the 28 battalion of Ulfa could be the target of the anti-talks faction since the former have been making open statements against Paresh Barua, the commander-in-chief of the outfit. “The anti-talks faction was critical of the leaders of the 28 battalion for their open rebellion in 2008 and after they came overground they have been making open statements against Barua. These leaders of 28 battalion could face the wrath of the anti-talks faction,” an official in the central intelligence wing said.
The deputy inspector-general of police who is in charge of Upper Assam said the police were thinking of providing security to the pro-talks group leaders in the wake of such intelligence reports.
“We are thinking of providing them security in the form of personal security officers,” the official said. He, however, ruled out allowing the pro-talks Ulfa group leaders of carrying arms in self defence. “Allowing them to move around with arms is out of the question,” he said.