The Tripura Police have beefed up security along the Bangladesh border and the state’s boundary with Mizoram, after extortion notices by a banned outfit, dated 2002, were served in a border village.
The ‘18-year-old’ extortion notices surfaced at Vangmun, a small village perched atop the Jampui Hills in North Tripura, right across the inter-state boundary with Mizoram.
The two notices are signed by Md. D Bwskang, self-styled Deputy Collector of the ‘Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Government of Twipra Kingdom’, led by National Liberation Front of Twipra (NLFT).
They were received by the Vangmun Village Council president and a local businessman on October 23. While the date of serving the notices was accurate, the year was mentioned as 2002 in both, and the police say they don’t want to dismiss this as coincidental.
Formed on March 12, 1989 with the slogan of ‘sovereign Tripura’, NLFT was outlawed in 1997 under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and later under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA). In August 2019, the insurgent outfit suffered a massive split as 88 members laid down arms before the government. However, a small faction is still active, and according to intelligence sleuths, is hiding away across the international border in Bangladesh in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) and adjoining areas.
“We received a complaint on October 26 from the village council president. We are investigating the issue. We have to be sure these notices are genuine; two errors in two notices doesn’t seem coincidental,” Officer in-charge of Vangmun police station Shyamal Murasingh told indianexpress.com.
Meanwhile, Zosangliana, president of Vangmun village council, told reporters that the notices demanded Rs 200 from every household in the village. Zosangliana is under home quarantine, owing to which his complaint reached the police three days after the notice was served.
Dr. Zaoremthiama Pachuau, general secretary of Mizo Convention, a local community organisation, said they were relying on the police to nab the culprits and would not pay the amount.
“We don’t believe the notice was served by NLFT. But we want anyone behind this act to be brought to justice,” Dr. Pachuau said.
A senior official of the state police said that no insurgent movement had been observed in the area in recent past.
As per Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) records, NLFT was responsible for a series of violent activities, including 317 insurgency incidents in which 28 security forces and 62 civilians lost their lives, during 2005-2015. Peace talks with NLFT were initiated in 2015 and there has been no violence by the outfit since 2016.
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