ULFA-I rebels were planning Pathankot-like attack on Chabua air base: Army

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The Ulfa (Independent) was planning a Pathankot-like attack at the Chabua air force base here ahead of Republic Day, interrogation of a journalist arrested for having links with the proscribed outfit revealed, Army officials said on Monday.


Swarup Jyoti Chetia, reporter for a local news channel and an Assamese daily, was arrested at Chabua on Saturday for links with the Ulfa (I) during a joint operation by the 9th Rajputana Rifles and Assam Police. Following his arrest, locals had blocked NH-37 at Chabua demanding his release.


Chetia’s family, in the meantime, filed an FIR at Chabua police station claiming he had been detained despite his innocence. He was released on bail a day later by a local court.


A top Army official said on Monday that Chetia had been under the radar of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and the Intelligence Bureau (IB) for the last three months. “He was found to be passing sensitive information through the phone about various defence installations to Ulfa (I) leader Bhaskar Gogoi alias Astitwa Asom, who happened to be his classmate from Assam Vidyapeeth, Chabua. He has confessed to have planned a Pathankot-like attack on the Chabua air force station with Gogoi ahead of Republic Day.


The plan was to plant improvised explosive devices on aviation turbine fuel tankers which enter the air base,” the Army official added. The official further said that Chetia would also pass on names of suggested targets for extortion, including two businessmen – Munim Phukan and Shyam Gohain – to the rebel outfit.


The journalist, on the other hand, said he had come forward with information about Ulfa (I)’s plans. “Members of Ulfa (I) used to call and pressurise me for information about security forces and important defence installations. I have been receiving such calls for the past three months. About a week ago, I had informed the Chabua police station about the calls. I don’t know why I was arrested even after informing the police,” he added.


Source: Times of India

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