KOLKATA: This is how deep the ties are between Maoists and northeast militants. The recent arrest of CPI(Maoist) Bengal secretary Sudip Chongdar alias Kanchan and three other top leaders is a direct fallout of the nabbing of Anthony Shimray, the NSCN(IM) ‘foreign secretary’ and its chief arms buyer, and Rajkumar Meghen, the 62-year-old UNLF chairman, from Nepal and Bangladesh. It also indicates that India’s external intelligence agency is playing a crucial role in the anti-Maoist operation. The big arrests couldn’t have been possible without a coordinated effort of the internal and external security agencies.
Meghen was nabbed on September 29 on the outskirts of Dhaka, but officially shown as arrested on November 30 from Motihari, Bihar. Shimray was nabbed from Kathmandu on October 2 soon after he had bought a fresh consignment of rifles, rocket launchers, pistols and communication devices worth `4.5 crore. There is a possibility that the huge haul of communication devices seized from Kanchan and his team was a part of this consignment.
Indian agencies knew for long that when it came to arms procurement, Shimray — a trusted lieutenant of Naga rebel leaders Isak Chisi Swu and Thuingaleng Muivah — was the one-point, all-important link for all northeast militant outfits. Kishanji approached the NSCN(IM) some time ago to buy arms but was turned down. The NSCN(IM) had tried to use this as a leverage during their talks with the Centre, pointing out repeatedly that they had spurned the Maoists. But the talks failed and the crackdown started.
Interrogated by officers of the National Investigation Agency, Shimray confessed that he had booked a huge consignment in China — assault rifles, machine-guns, rocket launchers, timers for explosive devices and communication gadgets. It was scheduled to arrive in India in three phases for the Maoists and outfits in the northeast. The first batch reached the Maoists in October this year. It consisted mainly of timer devices. The next one is due in December 2010-January 2011.
Kolkata STF chief Rajeev Kumar could not rule out that the imported communication devices seized from Kanchan and his cronies were channelized through the northeast rebels.”The Maoists have been maintaining close links with Manipur-based outfit PREPAK. They even shared training camps in Jharkhand,” he told TOI.