Violence, surrenders, arrests clouds Assam

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Guwahati, Feb 12 (UNI) Insurgency returned to centre-stage in Assam with violence, arrests and surrenders running parallel during the last 48 hours, leaving at least seven people, including police and rebels, dead.

While ULFA, the most powerful outfit of the state, remained in the headlines with its alleged foiled plane hijack plan, fundamentalist and tribal militants triggered violence in the state.

Several ULFA sympathisers, including advocate Nekibur Zaman, human rights activist Lachit Bordoloi, journalist Pradeep Gogoi and Air Deccan employee Sumon Dutta, were also arrested in the police crackdown since Sunday.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi also sent a stern warning to the insurgents, stating that counter-insurgency operations would not be relaxed and anti-national elements would be dealt with a tough hand.

The surrender of as many as 31 militants in Dibrugarh district yesterday also backed the government's claim of cracking down the militancy gambit in the state.

The surrendered militants included 29 ULFA cadres, including two female cadres, and one each of the Bodo outfit NDFB and Karbi outfit KLNLF.

The ULFA cadres were led by 'commander' of its strike-force '27th battalion', 'captain' Keshab Hazarika, which is being constructed as a major jolt to the striking capacity of the outfit in Upper Assam, where the ULFA has a more prominent presence.

But the militants struck on Monday evening itself, when suspected Dimasa rebels gunned down four people, including twp policemen, in an ambush on an NEEPCO escort vehicle at Umrangso in North Cachar Hills districts.

The anti-talks faction of the Dima Halom Daogah (DHD), also known as Black Widow, is suspected to be behind the ambush.

Earlier on Monday, three suspected fundamentalist militants were killed by troops of 4 Kumaon Regiment in an encounter in Goalpara district.

Arms and ammunition were recovered from the killed militants.

UNI SG PP SS1430

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