Guwahati, Feb 10: The United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) was planning to hijack an Air India plane in Guwahati, senior police officials today said.
Inspector General of Police Khagen Sharma and SSP of Kamrup Metro V K Ramishetty said this while they produced an ULFA cadre Manoj Tamuly before media late last night here. The susepct hijacker, Tamuly has confessed about the plan before the police saying that some other cadres of the outfits were also given training by the ISI operatives in the Baska district of Assam adjoining Bhutan for skyjacking an aircraft from Assam.
The ULFA, however, today denied this and said the disinformation campaign was an attempt to scuttle the political process in the state.
In an e-mailed statement, the ULFA publicity in-charge, Rubi Bhuyan, 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".The police also arrested one Ms Dhariti Sharma along with Tarmuly. However, Dhritiri, now in police custody, claimed that she is fiancee of Tamuly and both were planning to get married next month as Tamuly was contemplating to surrender before the authorities.
One pistol and four bullets have been recovered from their possession. The IGP claimed that the ULFA had planned to hijack an Air India plane from Guwahati and fly to Paro (Thimphu). Mr Sharma also claimed that during the interogation the arrested militant confessed about the presence of some ISI operatives during training period along with few senior ULFA leaders including Akash Thapa.
Meanwhile, security measures have been tightened in the Guwahati international airport and here. Besides, the CISF, the Black Cat commandos were seen patrolling at the arrival and departure gates of the airport. In a separate incident, Managing Director of the NE TV Manoranan Singh, was fired upon by some unidentified extremists in Guwahati at about 0215 hours last night, informed DIG CRPF Mehboob Khan.
It was not known whether the attack was linked to the hijacking plan. The ULFA statement said the hijack drama was a make up story by the authorites using media. Based on the confession of the arrested ULFA man, police raided the houses of one sympathiser, Lachit Bardoloi, and advocate Nekibur Zaman, who has been representing the outfit in the courts. Mr Zaman was now admitted to the Guwahati Medical College after being injured in the legs while fleeing.