Guwahati, Sep 19 (UNI) Close on the heels of the arrest of ULFA's dreaded '28th battalion' 'commandant' Prabal Neog in Tezpur, 'sergeant major' of the same 'battalion' Luhit Duara surrendered at Jorhat last night.
The arrest of Neog on Monday and surrender of Duara gave major jolts to the ULFA's operations in the entire Upper Assam region, where the outfit had the most influence in the state.
Duara, belonging to the 'B' company of the '28th battalion', laid down a Chinese-make grenade and 1.5 kg RDX. After having joined the ULFA in 1999, he had undergone training for three years at Myanmar and was responsible for carrying out extortions, killings and blasts in Jorhat district.
Though relatively peaceful, Jorhat district had witnessed a spurt in insurgent activities in recent times.
Meanwhile, 'commandant' Neog and his wife Purabi were remanded for 10 days and three days of police custody respectively after being produced at the Chief Judicial Magistrate's court here yesterday.
Neog was arrested along with his wife, also a ULFA cadre, and their son Rajdeep from Tezpur on Monday when they were trying to flee to neighbouring Arunachal Pradesh in a rented car.
However, Neog's arrest has raised suspicions of the possibility of an 'orchestrated surrender' as nabbing a senior ULFA leader of Neog's rank without an all-out operation was an uphill task.
Moreover, sources indicated that the possibility of Neog being given away by his colleagues in the outfit could not be ruled out.
Security sources claimed that there had been a rift in the ULFA top brass over the Bangladeshi issue as the ULFA had been maintaining a lenient stand on the illegal infiltrators and branding only the Hindi-speaking people as 'foreigners'.
Neog is believed to be in the section which wanted steps against the Bangladeshi infiltrators, a step unlikely to be ordered by the ULFA top leaders as they are known to maintain 'good' relations with insurgent outfits in Bangladesh.
The topmost leaders of the ULFA were also believed to be in hiding in Bangladesh, making it more difficult for them to take concrete steps against the them.