Amir Zahedi's report:
In what has been attributed as a major intelligence failure following the gruesome murder of NCP candidate Jonathone Sangma by exploding an IED in the run up of the Meghalaya elections, recovery of yet another IED impoverished in a pair of Chinese Tank Shell and planted in the middle of the road and heaped in sand near the Rongre river towards the road of Nengmandalgre village has raised eyebrows among the top brass of police and central paramilitary forces about the involvement of an IED expert which according to sources can none other be the Deputy Commander in Chief of the Paresh Baruah led ULFA (I) faction Manoj Rabha alias Dristi Rajkhowa. The IED was placed in a claymore box and connected to wireless RC. The big question emerging now is how Chinese tank shells first made entry into India and then Meghalaya.
An Insidene investigation based on earlier track records of arms suppliers is enough to suggest that arms dealers would seldom choose a longer route to transport arms, ammunition and explosives originating in China and through Myanmar via Manipur, Assam and Meghalaya. However there are instances of Arms smugglers like Dublin Sangma apprehended in Assam's Jorhat district on 2014 where he gave statement on camera about the availability of AK-47, 56, Uzi and grenades in Dimapur, Nagaland. He was caught in Gorchuk in 2012 while travelling in a Santro vehicle concealing 4 AK-56 rifles, Uzi’s and ammunitions which were to be delivered to the then outlawed ANVC (Achik National Volunteers Council). However Dublin never mentioned about tank shells! But the use of Chinese armaments by Northeast Ultras for the first time in Meghalaya has set the alarm bell ringing.
Rumors are of Dristi Rajkhowa of taking up a contract to kill Jonathan Sangma and in the process underwent a transformation from an ultra to a mercenary, the point if presumed to be true only point towards the motive of a political rivalry rather than a GNLA triggered political target. It may be noted that two other surrendered ultras of GNLA who were a part of the escort team of Jonathan Sangma’s convoy were also killed in the explosion. Soon after the killings, there was a word about the two ex militants to be on GNLA’s hit list but the use of artillery impoverished IED purely nullify the claims.
Garo Hills has long served as a second home for the ULFA leader since the 1990’s. The dreaded and elusive Dristi is far for falling into the trap of security forces and is believed to be the guiding force behind an ill equipped GNLA (Garo National Liberation Army) led by Sohan D Shira which has a mere strength of around 5 to 6 cadres. Dristi as per intelligence input is also believed to be in the GNLA group supported by 2 to 3 ULFA cadres. The small strength thus enables the joint team of ULFA-GNLA to remain elusive and unnoticeable.
Other sources are apprehensive of the ULFA leader to be still in possession of a part of the consignment of arms that made way from Chittagong Hill track of Bangladesh and was destined to the Northeast after a major haul by Bangladesh authorities which was South Asia's largest ever seizures of illicit weaponry. Sources familiar with the case had informed that the consignment originated from the port of Hong Kong and, at that point, only involved new Chinese weaponry which was known to have included around 2,000 automatic and semi-automatic weapons, among them 1,290 Type 56-1/Type 56-2 Kalashnikov-type assault rifles; 150 T-69 rocket propelled grenade (RPG) launchers; quantities of 40mm RPG ammunition; 25,000 hand-grenades; and 1.8m rounds of small-arms ammunition.
The ULFA leader after years of isolation from the main faction of ULFA-I based in Myanmar, Eastern Nagaland & Upper Assam is now perhaps changing strategy to take Garo Hills by storm and niche name as a mercenary.
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