Guwahati, September 24: Security forces seized a big cache of arms and explosives inside the Manas National Park close to the Indo-Bhutan border in Assam in an operation on Tuesday. Officials suspect the weapons belong to the banned National Democratic Front of Bodoland (S), the militant outfit active in the area.
According to Sudhakar Singh, Superintendent of Police, Chirang, one of the four Bodo Territorial Area Districts, the seizures were made in a joint operation of the Assam Police, the Indian Army and the SSB which started at 5 pm on Monday in Panbari Reserve Forest which comes under the Manas National Park and continued onto Tuesday.
“Based on a lead given by a source and the Army tracker dog, digging was done at multiple places. At one place eight packets covered in plastic were recovered,” he said.
After unwrapping the black and green plastic packets, police said they found nine factory made rifles, 11 country made rifles, 17 kilograms of plastic explosive, ammunition for AK series rifles, sniper rifle, pistol and 93 feet of wire among other things.
“It is suspected the weapons belong to the NDFB(S) because there has been movement of its cadres in the area at present,” said Singh.
Amal Sarma, the director of the Manas National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which bore the brunt of the Bodo insurgency, said the situation has improved over the years. The park spans an area of 850 sq km.
“Panbari forest area had a lot of activity of the insurgent group in the past. Because of sustained action by the security forces, it is largely peaceful now,” he said.
Meanwhile in Guwahati, a defence spokesperson said that the Assam Rifles as part of their ongoing crackdown apprehended two NDFB cadres in Longleng district of Nagaland on September 22 and seized an AK 47 rifle and ammunition. (Courtesy: HT)