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Assam hills reel under extortion by ultras
K Anurag in Guwahati | June 01, 2007 20:33 IST
The tribal ultras don't hesitate to attack people for failing to cough up the sum demanded from them. It is basically a consequence of in ordinate delay in starting the actual peace negotiation with tribal militants in the two hill districts of Karbi Anglong and North Cachar Hill districts has led to rampant extortions by militants from different groups.
Four years have passed since the central government signed ceasefire agreement with the United People's Democratic Solidarity based in Karbi Anglong and the Dima Halam Daogarh based in North Cachar Hill district.
However, whatever talks have so far been held with these two outfits are focused on extension of the truce pact. The actual negotiation on demands of both the militants groups are yet to be held.
The DHD's key demand is a separate state for Dimasa tribe living in parts of Asom and neighbouring Nagaland while the UPDS demands for a separate state for Karbi tribe.
The UPDS has a strong base in Karbi Anglong while the DHD is a force to reckon with in North Cachar Hill district.
There have been incidents of violence and under current of tension in both the hill districts despite the truce pacts with the UPDS and DHD. The reason is that truce with both the outfits led to formation of splinter groups that are opposed to the peace process and the ceasefire pacts.
A very active militant group called Karbi Longri North Cachar Liberation Front in Karbi Anglong was formed by the anti-talk faction of the UPDS while Black Widow group led by Jewel Garlosa in North Cachar Hill district was formed in opposition to the truce between the DHD and government of India.
According to sources in the districts all four groups -- the UPDS, KLNLF, DHD and Black Widow -- have launched widespread extortion drives in their respective strong holds in both the districts making life of common people, government staffs and traders difficult.
In North Cachar Hills, the Black Widow group, which, the police allege, has close links with the NSCN-IM rebels from neighbouring Nagaland, is notorious for serving extortion notices to traders and government servants working in the hill district. The district police rued that few dared to lodge a complaint with the police against gun toting ultras.
These groups have allegedly set up a well-orchestrated extortion network to take monthly payment from government staffs working in both the hill districts. According to sources, the money is cut at the source from the salary of the government employees and paid to ultras through their channels.