Maoists trying to set up bases in Meghalaya

GUWAHATI, April 29 – The arrest of hardcore Maoist rebel leader Aklanta Rabha alias Maheshji revealed that after establishing roots in almost all the districts of Assam, the rebels started making serious efforts to make strong bases in Meghalaya and the arrested rebel already established contacts with a number of Khasi boys in an attempt to win them over to the Maoist fold.

Highly placed police sources told The Assam Tribune that Aklanta joined the Maoist rebel group in 1996 and after his initial training in Jharkhand, he became the youngest member of the central committee of the Maoist rebels. However, after joining the Maoist fold, he spent most of his time outside Assam and Jharkhand Police was also looking for him.

Sources said that Rabha married Rekharani, who was also a cadre of the Maoist rebels in Jharkhand. But later his wife dissociated herself from the activities of the rebel outfit and was running a shop in Goalpara.

The events which led to the arrest of Rabha were quite interesting as the city police, which was trying to trace out the trouble mongers along the Assam-Meghalaya border areas, received an input that a Maoist leader was holding meetings with Khasi boys in the bordering areas. At the initial stages, no one was quite ready to believe that any senior leader of the Maoist rebels would be moving around in these areas but later the inputs were cross checked and a trap was laid. Rabha was arrested along with another Maoist cadre when they were waiting for the arrival of a few Khasi boys for their periodical meetings in the Jorabat area near the Assam-Meghalaya border. However, the boys the Maoist leaders were waiting to meet could not be arrested as they did not turn up at the stipulated time.

During initial questioning, Rabha admitted that with the militancy on the wane in Assam with a number of militant groups coming forward for political dialogue with the Government, the Maoists started making serious efforts to fill up the void and establish strong roots in Assam. He admitted that the Maoists managed to penetrate into almost all the districts of the state and the recent focus was on the districts of Kamrup and Goalpara.

The Maoists also tried to establish strong roots in Meghalaya and that is why Rabha was regularly meeting Khasi boys to try and win them over to the fold of the Maoists. The security agencies also believe that the Maoists are also in touch with Meghalaya, based militant group HNLC for some time.

Interestingly, the security agencies were aware of the fact that one person from Assam was in the central committee of the Maoists for some time, but as Rabha was well known as Maheshji in the organization, it took quite some time to the agencies to ascertain that he was the man who was one of the most wanted Maoist rebels.

Both the arrested persons were remanded to police custody for 14 days today.