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Extortion for cosmetics, women, overseas luxury

india Updated: Jun 06, 2009 19:14 IST
Digambar Patowary
Digambar Patowary
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Top guns of most northeast militant outfits use extortion money to buy arms for cadres and operate from luxurious foreign bases. Mihir Barman did too, but with a cosmetic difference - he spent a part of it on facials, massages and colognes every month besides splurging on women.

Mihir Barman, 36, is the real name of Jewel Gorlosa, chairman of the dreaded Black Widow. Also known as Dima Halam Daogah (Jewel) group, this outfit with some 150 rebels has been holding the North Cachar Hills district of Assam to ransom.

Partial to the dominant Dimasa tribe inhabiting the troubled hills, the DHD-J's prime objective is the creation of the tribe-specific Dimaraji homeland comprising adjoining Assam and Nagaland areas, and total reservation of jobs for Dimasas in the hills.

The Special Operation Unit of Assam Police had Wednesday night arrested Gorlosa from a gym in Bangalore. Gorlosa then led the police to where he stayed - an apartment rented by friend and HSBC employee Samir Ahmed on Bannerughatta Road. Ahmed and another DHD-J militant Ashringdaw Warisa were arrested from that apartment.

"He led a very luxurious life," said Assam police chief GM Srivastava. "His average monthly bill on cosmetics and body massage was over Rs 60,000 in Indian currency."

If that were not enough, Gorlosa used up a large fraction of money his field operatives collected on women. He had reportedly killed his Dimasa wife to carry on an affair with a Naga woman before falling for a Nepalese social worker and media activist in Kathmandu.

It was ironic for the outfit that derived its name from a slain militant's widow, who had administered the oath to the rebels in black on the day DHD-J was formed in 2004.

"He had been in Bangalore for almost two months to get a fake passport in the name of Debujith Sinha. He had already obtained a PAN card and driving license in that name," Srivastava said. He added Gorlosa had used Nepal as a base for some time and obtained a Nepalese passport in the name of Bir Bahadur Chettri.

Gorlosa had also bought two high-end houses - one in Kathmandu and the other at Bhairava on the Nepal-Uttar Pradesh border. His Nepalese paramour shuttled between the two houses.

The police refused to divulge the identity of the Nepalese woman, since "efforts were on at diplomatic levels" to get to her. "She has been providing logistic support to other DHD-J rebels including the outfit's commander-in-chief Niranjan Hojai, who she had made her brother," a senior police officer said.

Hojai, with a Chinese-origin woman as companion, is believed to be in a Southeast Asian country, probably Thailand.

Hailing from a Dimasa village in southern Assam's Cachar district, Gorlosa studied in NC Hills headquarters Haflong, quitting before he could graduate. Intelligence officials said he could have made it as a painter or musician - he reportedly worked magic on the Hawaiian guitar - but chose to join the underground movement.

Indoctrinated by a Dimasa ideologue named Bejoy Neidung, Gorlosa and others floated the Dimasa National Security Force (DNSF) in 1991. Most of the DNSF leaders surrendered in 1995, but Gorlosa and fellow rebel Dilip Nunisa walked out to form the DHD. It carried on from where the DNSF left, before Nunisa called truce on January 1, 2004.

Yet again, Gorlosa refused to come 'overground' and formed the DHD-J. A reign of terror across NC Hills followed.