PLA and PULF on recruitment drive in eastern Cachar

SILCHAR, Sept 9: Both the Manipur based PULF (People’s United Liberation Front), an Islamic outfit, and People’s Liberation Army (PLA) are on recruitment drive in Jiribam, Jirighat, Lakhipur and Sonai areas in Cachar, located in close proximity to Manipur and North Cachar Hills with easy access to the infamous rebel corridor of Myanmar, some sources said.
According to intelligence sources, both these outfits on technical ground with the objective of furthering the cause of disruptive and extraneous forces and financial backup from them have formed a nexus to help each other in gaining territorial hegemony and to extend their areas of influence.
Other Meitei rebel groups active in this ‘disturbed zone’- People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK) and United National Liberation Front (UNLF) – even a few years ago are quite strangely lying low. This is attributed to the massive military operation in the upper Jiribam bases of these outfits and the continuous flush out drives by the security forces in the ‘identified sensitive points of infiltration and going out.’
Jiribam bases once became the hotbed of refugees for Mizoram and Tripura based extremist groups- NLFT, ATTF, HPC (D) and BNLF. BNLF (Bru National Liberation Front) which received logistic and material support from Meitei rebels surrendered in 2004.
According to the intelligence inputs, PLA and PULF are exploiting the emotional bases of the grey areas on both sides of Asom-Manipur border.
The latest information is that during the last week, six teenagers from different villages under Lakhipur, Jirighat and Jiribam police stations have been lured to join PLA. Of them, two have been identified by names, one of them is a student of English medium school of Pailapool whose father incidentally is an Indian Army captain posted in Kashmir. His name also has been withheld for further investigation. The recruitment drive is going on under the guidance of PLA captain of the area, Jhang Singh. The sources said these youths have been taken for training at Khongtan located at Manipur-Myanmar border.
Despite mounting vigilance as well as specific information of base operations by security forces, PULF has also intensified its recruitment campaign by roping in youths and even middle aged persons from the minority dominated areas under Jiribam, Jirighat, Lakhipur, Sonai and Banskandi police stations. In the meantime, in league with MULTA, PULF has set up its units at Hojai, Nagaon and Dhubri. It is to be recalled that the arrest of area commander of the outfit Anwar Hussain by 72 Field Regiment in January last and his grilling brought out several disturbing facts.
Anwar Hussain, resident of Labacpar under Lakhipur police station, used to induce and indoctrinate the recruits with money offers ranging from Rs 80,000 to Rs 1 lakh to join PULF. According to sources, during the last eight months, the outfit has been able to bolster up its strength by 20 new recruits. The funding sources are yet to be identified. The Army has withheld the names of active PULF cadre working as conduits for further investigation. Their links with Bangladesh have also apparently been ascertained.
Quite disturbing is the ground report that the areas under PULF dominance were fast turning into hideouts for stockpiling of arms, ammunition and explosives for subversive activities on national events in particular. Hussain, as the record shows, directed one of the recruits to carry explosives to Imphal to be delivered to some cadres of the outfit for an unidentified mission. He was assured of Rs 70,000 for the task. It is, however, a positive move of the security forces to hold motivation camps in the vulnerable areas for weaning away the misguided youths from gun-culture. (Source - Sentinel Assam)

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