Thursday, July 31, 2008

Rebels spill Maoist beans

Guwahati, July 30: Two Adivasi National Liberation Army (ANLA) rebels — who surrendered in Golaghat today — brought bad news for the state’s security agencies, saying a large number of the outfit’s cadres are undergoing training in Jharkhand under crack Maoist rebels.

The group came to the fore after it was revealed that its cadres had worked behind the scenes to foment trouble during an Adivasi rally in Beltola in Guwahati last year. It has also shown its firepower by targeting the Rajdhani Express in Karbi Anglong district. Several persons were killed in the bomb blasts.

The two ANLA rebels who surrendered — identified as Mikhail Bina and Raju Gaur — said they had returned from Jharkhand only a few days back. The duo surrendered at a function in Golaghat deputy commissioner’s office in the presence of additional deputy commissioner H.P. Nath, superintendent of police (in-charge), N.S. Haq, and commander of 34 CRPF battalion, D.K. Rana.

Both told police that they were part of 24 ANLA militants who had gone to Jharkhand for training in arms and explosives. The duo returned only a few days back “with the realisation that they had taken the wrong path”.

Twenty-two cadres of the outfit, who had gone to Jharkhand in January, barely a month after the Beltola incident, are still undergoing training in that state under the guidance of Maoist rebels. Most of these cadres are from Kokrajhar, Nagaon and Jorhat districts.

Security forces claim that the surrender of Mikhail and Raju was a big blow for ANLA since both were founder members of the outfit and working under Nirmal Tirki, its commander-in-chief. Mikhail, Raju and like-minded Adivasi activists floated the outfit at Nahartoli village under Merapani police station in Golaghat district in 2004.

The duo told police that the outfit at present has nearly 400 cadres and possesses more than 50 AK-series rifles, about 30 carbines and over 500 revolvers, apart from five light machine guns and 500 grenades.

The arms are currently being kept at an NSCN (I-M) camp in Nagaland.

The two told the police that the Maoist rebels had approached the outfit soon after the Beltola incident, offering support to the cause of the Adivasis living in Assam.

In the aftermath of Beltola, security forces in Assam had said Maoist rebels might try to infiltrate into the tea garden belts of the state since tea tribes have their roots in Jharkhand.

The workers in Assam’s 800-odd tea plantations are tribals who had migrated to the state nearly 200 years ago from areas that now comprise Jharkhand, Orissa, Chattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.

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