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Assam militants use kids for extortion, two children caught
Published on 13 Aug. 2009 11:23 PM IST
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In what is seen as the first direct instance of separatists in Assam using kids to carry out extortions, two street urchins were caught by police commandos minutes after they collected the extortion amount from a businessman in Guwahati. A police spokesperson said two eight-year-old children, Ganesh Das and Babu Chetri, were late Wednesday lured by militants of the outlawed National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) to collect an extortion amount from a businessman in the Ganeshguri area of Guwahati. This is the first time militants in Assam were found to be using kids to carry out extortion in the city, a fact that has almost numbed the security machinery. “This is an ingenious modus operandi of the militants to use children for rebel activities,” Additional Superintendent of Police (Special Task Force) Manabendra Debroy told IANS. The two boys entered the shop and handed over a letter to the shopkeeper and as directed by the NDFB rebels, the money was given to the kids wrapped in a plastic packet. “We were informed by the businessman that two NDFB militants, one wearing a red T-shirt, would come to collect the cash from the shop at 8.30 pm Wednesday. We laid a trap and placed commandos in civvies in the area,” Debroy said. “We were on alert and looking for anyone with a red T-shirt in the area, but hardly could believe that two kids would come to collect the money.” The two boys after collecting the packet tried crossing the road when the commandos realised the NDFB’s game plan and managed to catch the kids. “Some boys met us on the road and gave us Rs.100 each and asked us to go to the shop and collect a packet. I was given a red T-shirt to wear and also a letter,” Ganesh Das told police interrogators. “We did not know what was inside the packet and agreed to do so as they gave us money,” the other boy, Babu Chetri, said. There are now fears that militants ahead of Independence Day might use children to plant bombs in crowded places. “We cannot rule out the possibility of militant groups using children for carrying out explosions in crowded places,” a senior police official said.

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