Police readies to tackle Red rebels

GUWAHATI: The Maoist menace in the state is growing and Assam Police are readying themselves to tackle the problem. According to Assam police intelligence sources, the upper bank of the Brahmaputra is becoming a safe hideout for Maoists.

However, police said they have already taken strategic steps to check any illegal activities by Maoist elements in the state. They also confirmed fresh threats from the Paresh Baruah-led Ulfa faction ahead the Republic Day celebrations.

On the sidelines of a programme on Sunday, DGP Assam Jayanta Narayan Choudhury told mediapersons that the department has been preparing strategies to tackle the growing Maoist menace in the state. “There are some reports of Maoist presence but we are confident that we can control it soon,” said Choudhury.

Sources in the intelligence department said they have already received complaints of extortion drives being carried out by the CPI (Upper Assam Leading Committee), a Maoist rebel group. “Many businessmen in the state, even in the city, have received extortion notes from the Maoists’ Upper Assam Leading Committee. In every note, they have demanded at least Rs 5 lakh and have even threatened the targets would be killed if they report receiving the notes to police. Most of these notes are from the leader of the group, Munu,” said an official of the intelligence branch here.

The Assam police chief also said that Ulfa hardliners are planning to strike in some of the areas of upper Assam ahead of Republic Day. “We have taken adequate measures to check any strikes from Ulfa hardliners,” he added.

Earlier, chief minister Tarun Gogoi citing an MHA report, pointed out that Maoists are forming an anti-dam forum in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. “I have been saying this for quite some time not but now there are intelligence reports of the home ministry that Maoists set up a mega-dam resistance forum about two years ago in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh,” Gogoi said on January 12.

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