Maoist extortion reports in Sadiya – Confidential missive from Tinsukia mentions notes issued in December

Jorhat, Jan. 8: Maoists have been serving extortion notices in Tinsukia’s Sadiya subdivision on the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border, a confidential message to Dispur stated.

An official source in Upper Assam told The Telegraph that a secret message issued by the Tinsukia district administration on December 27 last year to Dispur and the police headquarters said extortion notes were served to a few persons in Ambikapur, including a woman ward member of Ambikapur gaon panchayat.

A group of about seven armed men, suspected to be Maoist activists, had served the notes on December 20.

The missive said the husband of the ward member who received the extortion note runs a small khuti (unorganised dairy farm) at 9 Kilo Khuti area, which is the last border point of Assam with Arunachal Pradesh.

The area is on the edge of dense Kundal Kalia reserve forest, beyond which two districts of Arunachal Pradesh, Lohit and Lower Dibang Valley lie.

Ambikapur, on the bank of Balijan river, had witnessed “sensitive activities” by suspected Maoists for the past 15 months.

Located on the northern bank of the Brahmaputra, about 550km from Guwahati and 45km from Sadiya headquarters, it takes boat rides across three rivers — Brahmaputra, Kundel and Jia — to reach the area.

The confidential message also said the incident of arms snatching from policemen (in October 2011) in Ambikapur area was also close to the 9 kilo Khuti area.

A group of suspected Maoists activists had fired on a patrol party of the Ambikapur border outpost and snat ched a carbine from one of the injured policemen in the encounter. Following the extortion threats, security forces launched a massive operation in the area and arrested one person, Shiva Gogoi, allegedly a Maoist member, on January 3.

Gogoi has been interrogated by senior police officials, who refused to divulge details as it would “hamper” further investigation.

A source said apart from search operations against possible Maoists by security forces, “area domination” surveys are being carried out by the police personnel in the sparsely populated areas with a mixed population of Assamese, Hindi-speaking and Nepali communities.

After the October arms-snatching incident, the police shifted the Ambikapur outpost from the Kundal Kalia reserve forest to Ambikapur bazaar, nearly 700 metres away, to prevent its staff from being ambushed.

From their new position, the police will have control of all routes to the forest and is in an “attacking mode”, instead of the earlier defensive mode.

A source said district police authorities have recently submitted a proposal to set up a full-fledged police station in Ambikapur and two outposts — Sunpura and Amarapur — in adjoining areas.

A worried Assam police also plans to carry out massive recruitments in Tinsukia and Dibrugarh to wean away youths from joining Maoist groups.


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