Other States

Army finds ‘war-like stores’ in jungle of poll-bound BTC

Cache of arms recovered from Chirang Reserve Forest belonged to an unspecified faction of the now-disbanded NDFB, say Army officials

Soldiers of the Army’s Red Horns Division on Tuesday found “war-like stores” comprising assault rifles and grenades in a jungle in the poll-bound Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) area.

Army officials said the cache of arms recovered from the Chirang Reserve Forest belonged to an unspecified faction of the now-disbanded National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB). Four factions of the NDFB had signed a peace accord with the Centre in January.

The weapons include 12 assorted rifles, an AK-56 assault rifle, 10 pistols, a grenade launcher, 20 grenades, material to make improvised explosive devices, a satellite phone, assorted magazines and 414 rounds of assorted ammunition.

“A process is on to hand over the recovered items to the Bishmuri police station closest to the reserve forest,” an Army spokesperson said.

Army officials attributed the recovery to intelligence inputs, but it is believed that a rival faction of NDFB led the security forces to the weapons hidden in the jungle about 170 km northwest of Guwahati.

BTC elections

The recovery assumes significance because of the BTC elections scheduled on April 4. The elections have had a history of violence because of intense rivalry between political parties allegedly backed by extremist groups. The BTC areas have also been prone to communal and ethnic clashes.

A few NDFB leaders have filed nominations for the elections across 40 seats. They include B. Saoraigwra, who joined the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) that has been ruling BTC since 2003, and Gobinda Basumatary, who joined the rival United People’s Party Liberal.

Mr Saoraigwra was the head of the NDFB (S) faction, while Mr. Basumatary had headed the NDFB (Progressive).

Many BPF leaders, including BTC chairman Hagrama Mohilary, were members of the Bodo Liberation Tigers, an extremist group that was disbanded in 2003.

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 3:30:57 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/army-finds-war-like-stores-in-jungle-of-poll-bound-btc/article31099160.ece

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