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Assam accuses Pakistan High Commission of helping ULFA

GUWAHATI, MAR 14: The Assam government has accused the Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka of logistically helping the banned United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) besides sending their cadres for arms training inside Pakistan.

Making a statement on Monday night in the assembly on the growing ISI activities in the state, Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta said that the High Commission had taken the initiative of sending around 250 ULFA cadres for arms training inside Pakistan. According to him, many of the youth arrested had confessed that ISI agents had recruited them and sent them for training.

All these youths were sent to Pakistan from Bangladesh under fake names by the Pakistani High Commission officials of Dhaka, he s aid. He informed the house that majority of the cadres were for a negotiated settlement with the authorities but that was not achieved because of stiff opposition from the ISI which was controlling the organisation. "The ULFA commander-in-chief, Paresh Barua is still travelling on a fake Bangladeshi passport in the name of K Kamrul Zaman Khan," the Chief Minister said.

He also expressed concern at the steady growth of the dreaded terrorist organisation Harkat-ul-mujahideen in Assam. "They are recruiting youths from Assam and getting them trained inside Pakistan in not only arms but also religious fundamentalism," he said.

The police has so far arrested 34 such youth who were returning from Pakistan. The police had recently formed a four-member action committee under the command of state DGP P V Sumant to counter the ISI problem. He alleged that the ISI was continuously sending arms and explosives to the state, some of which were captured by the security forces.

He further said the recent report in The Washington Post in this regard only gave international recognition to the problem which had always been highlighted by the state government.

However, reacting to Mahanta's statement, CPI MLA Allauddin Sarkar expressed apprehension that in the name of looking for ISI-backed Muslim fundamentalists, minorities and religious educational institutions might be harassed.

Allaying the fear Mahanta said this very sentiment had been exploited by the ULFA which had also been taking shelter among the minorities, firstly, due to the remoteness and, secondly, the tendency of minorities reacting politically to any counter security measures.

He also informed the house that since the AGP came to power, extremists had killed 1677 people. In reply, the security forces killed 587 ultras of various groups. 427 security personnel were killed by the rebels during the period, with 21 dying in the past two months. However, the graph of people killed by the extremists dipped considerably last year with 192 deaths compared to 386 the previous year.

Meanwhile, 802 ULFA activists surrendered during the period taking the total to 5753 since the surrendering process began in 1991.

Copyright © 2000 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.


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