August 6, 2016 2:02:05 am
Two persons, arrested in July from the border area of Islampur in Murshidabad district, are being interrogated by the police and other investigating agencies for alleged links with insurgent groups operating in Manipur.
Following a tip-off from locals, Ataur Rehman and his associate Sirazul Islam were picked up by an Islampur police team from Daultabad for their “suspicious behaviour” on July 24. After being interrogated for several days, Ataur Rehman was formally arrested on July 29. Sirazul Islam, on the other hand, was arrested on July 31.
Sources said the two were allegedly supplying arms to three extremist groups in Manipur. These are reportedly United National Liberation Front (UNLF), Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL), and People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK). The two suspects hail from Lilong in Thoubal district of Manipur, sources added.
“They were arrested under arms act and are being interrogated,” Murshidabad SP Mukesh Kumar said. They were also allegedly involved in the drug trade and were supplying ganja from Manipur to other states. Several SIM cards and cellphones have been recovered from the two.
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Investigative officers are reportedly trying to find out if the two had a role in last year’s Burdwan blasts. “We are trying to find out if they were working for Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), which was responsible for the incident,” said a police officer. With reports that JMB is trying to establish itself in the border area of Murshidabad, police are checking out the background of the two arrested.
The two suspects — in their late 30s — have reportedly revealed that they had come from Manipur to Guwahati by air in the middle of July. From there, they took a bus to Siliguri and reached Kolkata on bus. They stayed at Esplanade for a night and then started off for Daultabad in Murshidabad. They were staying at a rented accommodation owned by one Kaji Tajumul Islam in Daultabad at the time of their arrest.
Ataur Rehman and Sirazul Islam reportedly came in contact with Tajumul Islam in a Cooch Behar jail in 2014, where all three were serving jail terms. After being released, they were involved in the drug trade with Tajumul Islam. Police are carrying out searches in different areas of Murshidabad for Tajumul Islam, who is absconding. Sources said he may have fled to Manipur.
Sources added that the state CID had already interrogated the two men. When contacted, CID DIG (Operations) Dilip Adak, however, said: “CID hasn’t taken charge of the case.”
UNLF, KYKL and PREPAK belong to the Manipur valley insurgency movement — the Hindu Meitei militancy. Unlike the Naga NSCN (IM), none of the valley groups have entered into an understanding with the Union government since they began their armed movement 60 years ago.
UNLF is incidentally one of the largest and most powerful insurgent groups in the northeast, especially in Manipur. As the oldest, UNLF is the parent organisation from which KYKL, PREPAK and others such as KCP and PLA had eventually emerged.
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