Ultras loot arms from IRB camp
Suspected Hmar People’s Convention (Democratic) militants took a page out of the Maoist book to raid a camp of the Indian Reserve Battalion in southern Assam and loot all the weapons including explosives early Friday morning.india Updated: Nov 13, 2009 20:48 IST
Suspected Hmar People’s Convention (Democratic) militants took a page out of the Maoist book to raid a camp of the Indian Reserve Battalion (IRB) in southern Assam and loot all the weapons including explosives early Friday morning.
The militants also abducted five farmers from the village – Chekarcham under Sonai police station in Cachar district – where the camp is sited. Police have no clue where these five are.
According to DIG (Southern Range) Deepak Kumar, the militants raided the camp of the 15 IRB around 2 pm. The village, close to the Assam-Manipur-Mizoram tri-junction, is inhabited by some 600 people dominated by Hmar tribe. Those abducted belonged to other communities – Khasi, Santhal and Bishnupriya Manipuri.
“We suspect them to be members of the HPC(D), and we are looking into how this happened,” he said from Silchar, headquarters of Cachar district. He did not rule out action against the IRB men, who allegedly gave up without a resistance.
The HPC(D) is an offshoot of the HPC, which was formed in 1986 as a political party seeking self-governance for the Hmar tribe in Mizoram. The domain of the Hmars straddles Mizoram, Manipur and Assam.
District police officials said 13 personnel including a cook and waterman were sleeping in the camp. The strength of the camp, though, is 22.
The police said the militants overpowered two sentries guarding the camp. But villagers claimed all of them were sleeping, making it easy for the ultras to take away 20 SLRs, three carbines, two LMGs, 24 explosives including grenades and over 6,000 rounds of ammunition.
The seriousness of Friday’s raid could be gauged from a high-level meeting Assam Police chief Shankar Barua held at Silchar after rushing from Guwahati during the day.
Chekarcham had earlier been notorious for ethnic violence. In 2003, Hmar militants had slaughtered 29 Dimasas of the village following ethnic animosity between the two tribes across Assam’s North Cachar Hills district. This district adjoins Cachar in Barak Valley.