Guwahati: The Assam Police has identified 74 Maoist cadre in the state and believes that many of them are "former ULFA linkmen".
     
Director General of Police (DGP) Jayanta Narayan Choudhury on Friday said although they had identified 74 Maoist cadre, their actual number might be around 100-150.
   
Choudhury said that 'ideology' was not the motivating factor for the Maoist cadre.
    
"It is not a question of ideology. Some of the cadre whom we apprehended earlier had no idea about the Maoist ideology. Infact, many of them are former ULFA linkmen," he said.
     
The DGP said there were around 21 police stations, mostly in upper Assam districts, where the Maoist cadre were mostly active. The police had on May 9 gunned down four Maoists in
Tinsukia district near the Arunachal border which was the first such incident in the state.
    
Among the dead was Siddhartha Burgohain, who was a former leader of the Assam Students Youth Organisation (ASYO), a local student body.
    
Choudhury had earlier voiced concern about the growing presence of Maoists in Tinsukia, Dibrugarh and Sibsagar districts of upper Assam. Chief minister Tarun Gogoi had also earlier voiced concern at the growth of Maoists in the state and their links with the banned ULFA.
    
In a statement on Thursday, ULFA's anti-talk faction extended "moral support" to the Maoists and condemned the killing of the four activists. "We extend full moral support to the Maoists in their struggle to establish a just and fair social structure in Assam," ULFA Commander-in-Chief Paresh Barua had said in an e-mailed statement.

(Agencies)

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