ATTF supremo sent to eight days police remand

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Supremo of banned militant organization ATTF Ranjit Debbarma was produced in court.

Agartala, January 24(Tehelka Bureau): Chief of the banned All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) Ranjit Debbarma, was produced in five courts in Agartala for various cases against him.

He was brought from the Agartala central jail  at around 10.35 AM. A large group of photojournalists had already crowded the court area along with a mob to see the dreaded insurgent leader. The police had just one photograph of Ranjit before he went underground 25 years back.

Ranjit, dressed in a black suit, waved to the photojournalists before entering the police cell along with the other culprits. He was first produced in the court of district and session judge Bamdev Mukerjee for various cases including murder, extortion, kidnapping and possession of illegal fire arms and ammunition.

SSP public prosecutor (PP) Ranada Prasad Ray, who argued in favour of the state government in the court said: “Ranjit was produced in the court today for a case of East Agartala police station of the year 2001 and the learned court has granted him 14 days judicial custody.”

He added that Ranjit had no defense lawyer. He was offered one by the court but he declined and opted to choose his own lawyer on the next court date.

Later Ranjit was produced in four other courts including that of chief judicial magistrate (CJM) B Palit with a plea by the CID of Tripura police for 10 days police remand for investigation.

The dreaded militant leader has a total of eight cases against him including that of waging war against the nation and at least six warrants besides a red corner notice served against him by the Interpol.

Meantime additional public prosecutor Tapan Saha informed: “After taking note of the gravity of the case the honorable CJM has send militant leader Ranjit Debbarma to eight days police remand. He will now be kept in the cell of the special branch of the police and will be produced in the court on January 31.”

Though the Tripura police had claimed that Ranjit was arrested from Sidhai area, he told the media today that he was arrested by DGFI in Dhaka and pushed back through Dawki in Meghalaya on January 16 and brought to Tripura on January 18.

When asked if ‘Bangladesh has ditched him?’ the leader said that there was some other” arithmetic” which at present he could not disclose, but will continue his struggle for ‘sadhin Tripura.’

Director General (DG) of Tripura police viewed the arrest of Ranjit Debbarma a success of the state police in the process of restoring peace. He informed that the state has taken adequate security measures for ensuring peaceful celebration of Republic Day and the upcoming election.

On the issue of Ranjit’s arrest, Congress leader in Tripura, Ratan Lal Nath, said that it was staged by the Left Front keeping the upcoming elections in mind. He demanded that Ranjit should be interrogated by the NIA (National Investigative Agency) as the state agencies would not conduct the investigation impartially.

Meantime, CPIM state general secretary Bijan Dhar said that the arrest of Ranjit was a big blow to the militants and would restore peace in the state. He added that if there were no legal complications then the state would have no problem in getting the entire case investigated by the NIA.

Debbarma, 41, had formed the ATTF in 1993. He was also the founder of the outfit’s ‘political wing’,  Tripura People’s Democratic Front (TPDF), also an outlawed group. He had carried out a number of killings.The Tripura Police had earlier declared a reward of Rs.2 lakh to anyone who could give information about his whereabouts.

According to the Tripura Police, following the advice of the union home ministry, Tripura, CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) and the Interpol had issued a red corner notice against the dreaded militant.

As there is no extradition treaty between New Delhi and Dhaka, the Bangladesh security forces pushed Debbarma into the Indian Territory. He was not formally handed over.

The ATTF had hideouts and training camps in Bangladesh, and has been demanding secession of Tripura from India.

Top intelligence sources here said Debbarma, along with his three women associates, was picked up by sleuths of Bangladeshi agencies last month and kept in Dhaka.

Debbarma is the most dreaded militant leader pushed back by Bangladesh after ULFA’s (United Liberation Front of Assam) founding member and chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa, who was pushed back in December 2009.

Tripura’s two banned militant outfits – the ATTF and the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) – have set up bases in Bangladesh.

Tripura shares an 856-km border with Bangladesh, some of it unfenced and running through dense forests and mountains, making it porous, vulnerable and advantageous for the terrorist outfits for their cross-border movements.

Ranjit Debbarma was wanted in connection with major massacres of non-tribal people like mass murder of 18 unarmed non-tribals in Panchabati market under Sadar (north) in December 1999, killing of twenty one men, women and children at Simna colony in Sadar (north) in May 2003, massacre of 26 non-tribals in Bazar colony area of Kalyanpur in Khowai subdivision in December 1996, Kalyanpur market massacre in June 2000 , killing of more than one hundred non-tribals in Bagber area under Kalyanpur police station in May 2000 and the earlier killing of non-tribals in February 1997 in different parts of Khowai subdivision. But the most potent cases against him are the abduction and death in ATTF custody of leading tea planter Yogabrata Chakraborty in June 1996 despite a huge ransom of Rs 30 lakhs being paid and the abduction and yearlong captivity of CPI (M) MLA from Simna , Pranab Debbarma.