Jorhat, June 10: Police last night detained 66 suspected Maoist recruits from Tinsukia railway station as they were about to board the Chennai Express.
Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Eastern Range) Satyen Gogoi told RailNews that the police had “some specific information” about a large number of youths trying to leave Assam through the district with the intention of joining the Maoists. The drive was carried out at the railway station based on this information.
He said the police detained persons found “doubtful” during the checking carried out on the train. These youths could not give proper answers when questioned by the police to verify the information on the documents produced by them.
Tinsukia superintendent of police P.P. Singh said most of the 66 youths detained were supposed to leave Assam for jobs for the first time, while some were returning to their jobs in southern states. He said the police were verifying each and every piece of information and documents along with the name of the proposed or current employers.
Singh said parents/guardians of the youths were also contacted and asked to come to Tinsukia police station to help the police in the investigation.
Sources said the fact that many of these youths were from villages known to be insurgency or Maoist-affected had made the police even more suspicious.
Most of the youths hailed from places like Sadiya, Tangana, Dhola in Tinsukia district, Rajgarh and Tingkhong (both in Dibrugarh district) and Namsai in Lohit district of Arunachal Pradesh, which are deemed sensitive in terms of insurgency and Left-wing extremism.
Sources said around 15 of the youths belonged to the tea community, while the others belonged to Ahom, Moran and other Assamese communities.
RED ALERT SITUATION
The most wanted Maoist leader of the state, Adiyta Bora, who was arrested in Odisha in 2011 and brought to Assam and who later jumped bail, is from Tingkhong. In May last year, four Maoist cadres were killed in an encounter with the police in Sadiya.
The development assumes significance as, according to intelligence reports, Maoists are making inroads into Tinsukia district, with top police officers and also chief minister Tarun Gogoi admitting time and again to their presence in the district.
Sources said there had been earlier reports about unemployed youths from tea garden areas of the district going out of the state in search of jobs and not returning home for a long time.
During his visit to the district last year, Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh called for declaring Tinsukia a Left-wing extremism-affected district so that it received a package for rapid infrastructure development and enhanced connectivity from the Centre like all other Maoist affected districts in the country get.
Tinsukia officials will be sent to Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Odisha to get first-hand knowledge about development plans being implemented in the rural areas of these states.
Dispur has constituted a 13-member high-powered committee headed by power and industry minister Pradyut Bordoloi to prepare a special all-round development plan focussing on infrastructure development and employment generation. The committee, comprising senior officers from several departments, including the Upper Assam commissioner and Tinsukia deputy commissioner, will prepare plans to focus on infrastructure development and employment generation in the district to check Maoist growth.
A baseline survey will be conducted in all 1,126 villages of the district, with special focus on around 200 villages identified to be Maoist and Ulfa-affected, to prepare an integrated district action plan.