GUWAHATI:In a major breakthrough, security forces on Friday arrested the “Commander-in-Chief” of the Sangbijit faction of insurgent group National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB).
Rabi Basumatary aka Rongjabaja, was arrested along with his personal security officer Jwnglaw Narzary alias Jekhai. An AK-56 rifle, 220 live cartridges and four hand grenades were seized.
But the fact that there was no resistance from the side of the rebels and not a single shot was fired, made the operation appear mysterious. Cornered by stepped up operations by the security forces, recently a section of the NDFB leaders had expressed willingness to surrender.
“Based on specific information, the Army, police and SSB launched an operation near river Hakua in Chirang district in the wee hours of Friday. As a result of swift and coordinated operation, the NDFB (Sangbijit) army chief Rabi Basumatary and his PSO Jwnglaw Narzary were apprehended,” a Defence release said.
Inspector General of Police, LR Bishnoi, said it was only after the arrest that the personnel came to know Basumatary was the NDFB Army chief.
“The Adivasis have their settlement in the place where the operation was carried out. When the personnel reached the site, they (Adivasis) started fleeing. Soon, the personnel nabbed the two NDFB men from near a hut. Later, they learnt that Basumatary was the NDFB Army chief. We didn’t have to fire a single shot,” Bishnoi told Express.
He said Basumatary took over from G Bidai, who had masterminded last year’s massacre of Adivasis, in April this year.
According to Assam’s Director General of Police Khagen Sarma, Bidai, who is now the outfit’s vice-president, is hiding in the jungles on the India-Bhutan border.
“It’s a big catch because in their parlance Basumatary is their chief of army staff. He is a contemporary of Bidai and underwent training in Bhutan and elsewhere. Recently, he was involved in the killing of a police officer,” Bishnoi added.