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Drishti�s surrender weakened ULFA(I) in lower Assam

By R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, Nov 18 - With the surrender of hardcore militant Drishti Rajkhowa, the presence of United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) has now been confined only to a few pockets of the State. However, it is still not known whether Rajkhowa will join the peace process as the pro talk faction of the ULFA is talking with Government of India. Police sources told The Assam Tribune that the surrender of Rajkhowa is a major blow not only to the ULFA(I) but also to the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA), a militant group based in Garo Hills of Meghalaya. The ULFA(I) leader was in close touch with the Garo militant outfit and both outfits carried out a number of joint operations.

Sources pointed out that for years, Rajkhowa masterminded the operations of the militant outfit in western Assam and Guwahati, while, he was also involved in extortions in the entire lower Assam starting from Guwahati city. After his surrender, the ULFA(I) now has very limited presence in Assam. Sources said that the ULFA(I) now has presence only in the areas bordering Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. The outfit has some bases in Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts of Arunachal Pradesh and Mon district of Nagaland. Members of the outfit are maintaining those bases with the help of NSCN(K).

Police sources said that the activities of the militants are also limited mostly to the areas bordering Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland and they are trying to extort money from tea gardens and other businessmen in the inter-state border areas. However, there has been no report of any large scale extortion. However, the possibility of some traders paying the militants without informing police cannot be ruled out. The ULFA(I) managed to recruit some youths from upper Assam districts during the peak of the movement against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, but of late, there has been no report of recruitments, while, some new recruits have returned from the bases in Myanmar to surrender.

Though the exact strength of the ULFA(I) cannot be ascertained, police and security forces estimate that the total strength should be below 200, of which, around 150 are in Myanmar, while, the rest are in Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. Though the security forces of Myanmar took over the headquarter of the ULFA(I) based in Taga area last year, the ultras are hiding in Naga villages across the border with the help of NSCN(K), while, a few makeshift camps were also set up near the international border.

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Drishti�s surrender weakened ULFA(I) in lower Assam

GUWAHATI, Nov 18 - With the surrender of hardcore militant Drishti Rajkhowa, the presence of United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) has now been confined only to a few pockets of the State. However, it is still not known whether Rajkhowa will join the peace process as the pro talk faction of the ULFA is talking with Government of India. Police sources told The Assam Tribune that the surrender of Rajkhowa is a major blow not only to the ULFA(I) but also to the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA), a militant group based in Garo Hills of Meghalaya. The ULFA(I) leader was in close touch with the Garo militant outfit and both outfits carried out a number of joint operations.

Sources pointed out that for years, Rajkhowa masterminded the operations of the militant outfit in western Assam and Guwahati, while, he was also involved in extortions in the entire lower Assam starting from Guwahati city. After his surrender, the ULFA(I) now has very limited presence in Assam. Sources said that the ULFA(I) now has presence only in the areas bordering Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. The outfit has some bases in Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts of Arunachal Pradesh and Mon district of Nagaland. Members of the outfit are maintaining those bases with the help of NSCN(K).

Police sources said that the activities of the militants are also limited mostly to the areas bordering Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland and they are trying to extort money from tea gardens and other businessmen in the inter-state border areas. However, there has been no report of any large scale extortion. However, the possibility of some traders paying the militants without informing police cannot be ruled out. The ULFA(I) managed to recruit some youths from upper Assam districts during the peak of the movement against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, but of late, there has been no report of recruitments, while, some new recruits have returned from the bases in Myanmar to surrender.

Though the exact strength of the ULFA(I) cannot be ascertained, police and security forces estimate that the total strength should be below 200, of which, around 150 are in Myanmar, while, the rest are in Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. Though the security forces of Myanmar took over the headquarter of the ULFA(I) based in Taga area last year, the ultras are hiding in Naga villages across the border with the help of NSCN(K), while, a few makeshift camps were also set up near the international border.

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