Gorkhatimes

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Ulfa leader killed in Assam

Posted by Ramesh Khati on September 6, 2009

KOKRAJHAR(TOI): Hours after a high-level security meet attended by Assam IGP (law and order) B J Mahanta at the district SP office, security forces gunned down a prominent Ulfa leader at Joraigaon Tilapara village near Kalipukhuri in the district around 9.30 pm on Friday night.

Pronoi Rai alias Manoranjan alias Pranab Rai was a self-styled captain and second-in-command of Ulfa’s 709 battalion, which operates in Lower Assam bordering Bhutan. He had joined the proscribed outfit in 1996 and had been trained in Bhutan.

Kokrajhar SP P K Dutta told newsmen that, acting on a tip off, a joint team of police and soldiers of 11 Maratha Light Infantry encircled the village. “Suddenly, a man ran out of a house used as a hideout, all the while firing at the securitymen. After an encounter lasting for about 15 minutes, the militant was killed. The owner of the house was later identified as Biren Rai,” he said.

Dutta said a major disaster has been averted with Rai’s death as he had been planning subversive activities in western Assam ahead of the Durga Puja and Kali Puja. Apart from a diary containing incriminating documents, a huge cache of arms and ammunition were found on Rai, including an American made pistol, a Chinese grenade, three magazines, twelve 7.62 live ammunition, seven 7.65 live ammunition, two empty 7.62 cartridges, two springs, an electronic detonator, a satellite phone and four SIM cards.

The satellite phone found on him revealed that Rai had been in direct contact with Hira Sarania, Paresh Barua and Raju Barua to carry out terror strikes in western Assam. Rai had given the cops a slip many a time and had never been arrested.

“An explosive expert, Rai was involved in many bomb blast cases in western Assam districts of Bongaigaon Chirang, Kokrajhar and Dhubri during his stint as an Ulfa leader. Rai’s death is a big blow to the banned outfit and one of the biggest successful operations,” Dutta added. Cops also arrested Biren Rai, the owner of the house where the rebel had taken shelter.

Crackdowns against militants in the district has so far killed 19 rebels since April 29, of whom 17 were from NDFB’s anti-talks faction. The two other were Ulfa cadres. The SP added that police also found a huge number of arms and ammunition and nabbed more than 10 rebels during the period.

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