GUWAHATI, March 18 � A substantial portion of development funds is going to the coffers of the militants, which is not only strengthening the hands of the militant groups but also affected development, forcing police and security forces to chalk-out a plan to check the menace.
Highly placed official sources told The Assam Tribune today that hardcore member of the hardline faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), Drishti Rajkhowa has started calling up block development officers and other officers of the State Government engaged in rural development projects demanding money and according to information available with the police and security forces, some officers have already paid to the ULFA. A few officers of the Transport and Food and Civil Supplies Department of lower Assam districts, particularly Dhubri and Goalpara districts also received demands.
Sources said that the money is collected by linkmen of the ULFA and sent to Drishti Rajkhowa, who is staying mostly in the camps of the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) in Garo Hills of Meghalaya and the same is sent to the camps of the ULFA in Myanmar. Sources pointed out that such collection of money from the officers engaged in rural development will seriously affect the development works.
On the other hand, the hardline faction of the ULFA also started demanding money from the contractors engaged in development projects in upper Assam and even a foreign company engaged in oil exploration received such demand. A number of tea gardens also received demands from the ULFA.
On the other hand, activities of the KPLT in Karbi Anglong have become a matter of concern and what is more disturbing is that a handful of former members of the United People�s Democratic Solidarity (UPDS), which was disbanded after the signing of the peace accord with the Government of India, have started helping the KPLT.
Sources said that a high level meeting involving senior officers of the police, Army and other security forces was held yesterday to formulate strategies to deal with the menace of extortions by the ULFA and activities of the KPLT and the meeting took several vital decisions to deal with the situation.
The police and security forces will launch a joint offensive against militants in lower Assam and with Drishti Rajkhowa and other senior militants stationed in Meghalaya, a decision has been taken to target the linkmen found to be acting as couriers of the militant outfit to collect money. The Additional Director General of Police in charge of Special Task Force will coordinate the operations in lower Assam. As the Army cannot operate in Meghalaya as the state is not declared as a disturbed area, efforts will be made to launch coordinated offensive by Assam Police, Meghalaya Police and central paramilitary forces, sources added.
In Karbi Anglong, the Army, police and central paramilitary forces will launch a joint offensive and an officer of the rank of DIG, who had earlier served as Superintendent of Police in the district, will coordinate the operations, sources said.