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Assam: 3 ULFA militants gunned down
K Anurag in Guwahati | April 24, 2007 11:37 IST
Three unidentified militants belonging to the banned United Liberation Front of Asom were killed following a gun battle with a team of Assam police and Central Reserve Police Force personnel at Goshala hillock under Jalukbari police station in Guwahati at around 1.30 am on Tuesday.
Police informed that acting on a tip-off that a group of ULFA militants were hiding in a makeshift camp on the hillock near the outskirts of the city, a police team set out to raid the hideout.
The ULFA militants opened fire at the approaching police team and in the ensuring 25-minute long gun battle, three militants were killed. Police recovered one M20 pistol, grenades and incriminating documents from the slain militants.
The police suspected that the group of militants could have been involved in the abduction of executive director of the Food Corporation of India Dr P C Ram from the heart of the city on the night of April 17.
Police also claimed that the abducted official was handed over to another group of militants hours after his kidnapping from the city. Police, however, claimed that the official was alive in the captivity of militants who have demanded Rs 21 crore as ransom for his release.
The army has been helping the police in the operation to trace the abducted official.
Meanwhile, the army has warned the government against extending any olive branch to the ULFA at this juncture, given that the militants have been put on a back foot in view of the intensified army operation that was launched in January 2007 as retaliation for killing of over 70 innocent civilians in Upper Assam district in the first week of January 2007.
In view of the pressure on the government from the pro-ULFA NGOs in civil society to go soft on the army operation to facilitate revival of the now-botched peace process to bring ULFA to negotiation, the General Officer Commanding 4 Corps of the Army, Lt Gen R K Chhabra, reminded the government that ULFA had regrouped and replenished its coffer during 43 days of unilateral truce offered by the government during August-September last year.
The truce was offered to facilitate top ULFA leaders to come for direct talks with the government. But the ULFA leaders did not bother to come over for talks.