Arrested rebel identified as UDLA chief

Our Correspondent

Silchar, Oct. 29: Police and security forces in the Barak Valley districts made a breakthrough as one of the three militants arrested at Churaibari checkgate on the Assam-Tripura border by Tripura police on Saturday, was identified as the chief of the United Democratic Liberation Army, an outfit claiming to represent the Reang community.

Karimganj district's superintendent of police Pradip Pujari said late last night, Dhanyaram Reang, the self-styled commander-in-chief of the outfit, set up in 2008, disclosed his identity after intense grilling.

Dhanyaram was arrested on Saturday while travelling on a Tripura Road Transport Corporation deluxe bus along with two of his comrades.

He had faked his identity as Gaganjoy Reang. The two associates were identified as Jamanga Reang and Hari Reang.

Hari was travelling under the name of Huji Reang.

Pujari said Rs 40,000 and four mobile handsets were recovered after a routine check in the buses.

During the interrogation, officials belonging to the 33 artillery field regiment at Chogola under Karimganj district scanned Dhanyaram Reang's photographs and concluded that Gaganjoy was indeed the UDLA chief.

The militant outfit came into being in 2008 soon after members of the United Liberation Front of the Barak Valley laid down arms and surrendered in a formal ceremony in Guwahati in September in 2007.

Led by Pauchau Ram Reang, a college dropout from Cachar College in Silchar, 307 members of this organisation came overground after their surrender.

Dhanyaram was arrested near Kolosib in Mizoram three years ago and brought to Hailakandi jail. But he jumped bail and fled into the jungle.

Dhanyaram is suspected to be the architect of many abductions and extortions in Hailakandi and Karimganj districts in the past four years, including the abduction of a train driver in Hailakandi and recently a trader in Karimganj district.

He is also suspected to be involved in the twin murders of employees of the Dullavchera tea garden in Karimganj district in 2010.

Police sources in Hailakandi and Karimganj towns today said Dhanyaram Reang was of late toying with the idea of laying down arms and had even held talks on conditions of his group's surrender.

In January this year, the top leaders of the outfit had met the additional director of the Assam police (special branch) in Guwahati, Khagen Sharma, in this connection.

But the talks had fizzled out as the UDLA leaders had "inflated" the number of its cadres from as estimated 65 to 610 and demanded a rehabilitation package of Rs 5 lakh for each insurgent.

Intelligence sources here said Reang and some of his UDLA cohorts were wandering about in the south Assam and Mizoram after he jumped bail granted by the court in Hailakandi.