A senior leader of the little-known Adivasi People’s Army (APA), an Assam-based insurgent group, has been arrested in connection with the July 10 derailment of the Guwahati-Puri Jagannanth Express that left 100 people injured.
Silva Orang, deputy chief commandant of the APA, was arrested on Friday night in the Uttarpar area of Baksa district along the Indo-Bhutan border.
Four coaches of the train had derailed following a blast triggered by a remote-controlled device near Rangia in Kamrup district. Shortly afterwards, the APA claimed responsibility.
On Wednesday, two APA cadre were nabbed from a tea estate in Baksa in connection with the blast. The police said they provided vital leads that helped crack the case.
“Orang had a major role in the blast on the railway tracks,” said AJ Baruah, superintendent of police, Kamrup. “He went into hiding when his role in the blast became clear and a joint team of the police and army launched a manhunt.”
The APA has its support base among the tea tribes. The group — active in Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baska and Udalguri districts — also has links with the United Liberation Front of Asom (Ulfa) and National Democratic Front of Bodoland.
The APA’s goal is to create an autonomous council for tribals in the state. The police detained four other APA members for questioning from the Gossaigaon area of Kokrajhar. They are also probing the possibility of the Ulfa playing a role in the blast.