GUWAHATI, Dec 8 – The Army and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel have launched a manhunt in the jungles of Arunachal Pradesh, particularly in Tirap and Changlang districts, where a number of militant groups, including the hardline faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), have their bases.Highly placed security sources told The Assam Tribune that the hardline faction of the ULFA is on the run in Arunachal Pradesh following the crackdown launched by the security forces and a number of hardcore militants shifted to Myanmar in recent times.
Sources said that Babul Gogoi was maintaining liaison with the senior leaders of the outfit in Myanmar from his base in Kharsang area of Arunachal Pradesh for quite some time now and he was also responsible for sending money and new recruits to the camps in Myanmar. But following the crackdown, Gogoi recently shifted to Myanmar, which would definitely affect the activities of the militant outfit in the days to come.
Sources pointed out that an area of 20 kilometers in Arunachal Pradesh from the inter-state boundary with Assam is declared Disturbed Area under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and the Army can operate freely in that area. Moreover, most of the bases of the hardline faction of the ULFA are located in this area. The CRPF is also operating in Arunachal Pradesh with pinpointed inputs, which resulted in a number of successful operations.
Security sources pointed out that in the last few days, a few hardcore members of the ULFA surrendered before the police and security forces with arms and ammunition. A few other hardcore members of the ULFA are in touch with senior officers of the police and security forces expressing their desire to come over ground and several of them are likely to lay down arms within the next few days.
Though the ULFA is still recruiting new cadres, the outfit is facing problems because of shortage of trained manpower as a number of senior cadres either surrendered or were arrested. According to assessment of the security agencies, the total strength of the outfit in Assam should be around 40 now and around the same number are in the neighbouring States.
However, the outfit is still trying to extort money and it is receiving regular amounts from a few traders, who are under scanner of the security forces. A number of common criminals are also trying to take advantage of the situation to make easy money by using the name of the ULFA.