Indian Airlines plane hijack plot in Assam, a 'peace-broker' held

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Guwahati, Feb 11 : A member of the People's Consultative Group (PCG), which was involved in talks between the Centre and the banned United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) to broker peace, was arrested today in connection with an alleged plot to hijack an Indian Airlines plane from Lokopriyo Gopinath International Airport (LGB Airport) in Guwahati.

The police have also detained an Air Deccan employee for interrogation in the case.

Lachit Bordoloi, a PCG member, was arrested in Upper Assam on Sunday. Bordoloi's name had come up during cross-examination of a ULFA militant, who had been arrested in the hijack conspiracy.

On Sunday, the police claimed to foil a hijack plan with the arrest of three suspects, including an advocate, a journalist and a militant.

Assam IGP (Special Branch) Khagen Sharma claimed the ULFA, had planned to hijack a plane from LGB Airport in Guwahati to Pakistan.

Manoj Tamuly, an ULFA militant, who was arrested in Guwahati on Saturday, allegedly named Guwahati-based advocate Nekibur Zaman, human rights activist Bordoloi and television journalist Pradeep Gogoi. All the three have been arrested.

Sharma claimed the militant had received the hijacking training in the forests of Assam's Baska District, near the Indo-Bhutan international border.

Tamuly had confessed before media that the plan was to hijack the plane to Thimpu and from there fly the aircraft to Rawalpindi.

The ULFA, however, denied the reports of hijacking plot and claimed this was a campaign to spoil the political process in Assam.

In an e-mailed statement, ULFA publicity in-charge Rubi Bhuyan said: "We have no such plan... This campaigning had been going on for quite some time and it was just an attempt to block the political process."

Meanwhile, security at the LGB Airport, regarded as the gateway to the northeastern states, has been stepped up following the reports.

ANI

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