Police unearth ULFA's hijack plan, advocate and journalist arrested

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Guwahati, Feb 10 (UNI) The Assam police today made a major breakthrough unearthing a hijacking plan of the dreaded ULFA and arrested three susepcts, an advocate, a scribe and a militant, for their alleged involvement in the conspiracy, senior police officials said.

Inspector General of Police (Special Branch) Khagen Sharma said the outfit, ULFA, had planned to skyjack an Air India plane from Guwahati airport to Pakistan, this was revealed after interrogating the ULFA cadre, Manoj Tamuly, who was arrested in the city last night with one pistol and four rounds of ammunition.

Based on his confession, prominent advocate Nekibur Zaman was also arrested. Another human rights activist Lachit Bardoloi's house was raided while a television journalist Pradeep Gogoi was arrested from Tinsukia during the last 12 hours.

Mr Sharma said that Tamuly had received the hijacking training in the jungles of Baska district of Assam, adjacent to Bhutan border.

The training was imparted by one Rasik Ahmed, believed to be an ISI operative, said Mr Sharma.

The arrested ULFA cadre had confessed before media that the plan was to hijack the plane to Thimpu and from there a new set of ULFA men would take the aircraft to Rawalpindi.

ULFA, however, denied this and claimed this was a disinformation campaign to scuttle the political process in Assam.

In an e-mailed statement, ULFA publicity incharge Rubi Bhuyan today said, ''We have no such plan. There was no training for this purpose. This campaigning had been going on for quite some time and it was just an attempt to block the political process''.

However, the arrest of wellknown advocate Zaman had jolted the legal community. Mr Zaman is a known sympathiser of ULFA and he handled ULFA related cases for past 20 years.

He said he was followed by two vehicles and fearing for his life he jumped off the wall of his home late last night and fractured his legs. Police arrested him from hospital and seized his mobile phone.

Police also raided house of Lachit Bardoloi, another sympathiser, who once represented ULFA in negotiation with the Centre. Police seized his laptop. He was away and over phone he blamed the state Government of hatching conspiracy against him and Zaman.

Police also arrested one Ms Dhariti Sharma along with Tarmuly.

A journalist of the same television channel, Pradeep Gogoi was arrested by police last night from Tinsukia and being brought to the Guwahati city. The journalist was accused of helping ULFA militants to sneak into the city using his official vehicle, Police said.

Meanwhile, security arrengements have been tightened in the Guwahati International Airport and in the city. Besides, the CISF, the Black Cat Commandos were on guard at the arrival and departure gates.

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