The Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) was instrumental in forming a Muslim-based terror group in Manipur, a senior police official said on Friday.
Tripura Director General of Police (DGP) Pranay Sahaya said in Agartala that the Manipur based People's United Liberation Front (PULF), having established links with Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and trained in Bangladesh, was formed at the behest of the NSCN-IM.
"NSCN-IM had formed the PULF in 1995 and their cadre strength was 2,000, 90 percent of them Muslims," he said.
The NSCN-IM has been operating a ceasefire with New Delhi since 1997. The Tripura police last week arrested seven PULF militants, including their self-styled army chief Mohammad Abdur Rahaman, in Agartala.
"The PULF militants, including a woman cadre, were arrested after they entered Agartala from Bangladesh," the DGP told IANS.
Quoting Abdur Rahaman, the Tripura police chief said, "The PULF supremo and his elder brother Mohammad Abdul Kalam Azad were killed by Manipur police in that state in February this year and after that the outfit become fragile."
Rahaman told the Tripura police that Indian militants in Bangladesh started fleeing that country following a stepped up offensive by Dhaka.
The PULF militants entered India through west Tripura's Sonamura border on July 15.
According to the Tripura police chief, the PULF has also forged links with Pakistan-based militant groups Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed.
The officer in charge of West Agartala police station, Subrata Chakraborty, said: "The PULF separatists have admitted during interrogation that they had gone to Bangladesh through Myanmar in March this year."
Rahaman reportedly said PULF cadres had held meetings with ISI representatives Rafiqul Islam and Mohammad Jafar at Cox's Bazar in south-east Bangladesh.
"The ISI agents told the PULF that they would provide sufficient money and arms to continue violence in India's northeast region," the arrested rebels told police interrogators.
"PULF was trying to destabilise the northeast in collaboration with other Islamic groups based in the region and in Bangladesh," Chakraborty told journalists.