GUWAHATI: Ruling out talks with the Bodo militants and giving strong indications of going after them, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday hinted at an Indo-Bhutan joint offensive against the extremists. He declared the incidents will be probed by the National Investigative Agency (NIA). Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Wednesday said he would take up the issue of joint offensive with the Union Home Minister.
“These incidents are a challenge to the country. We had talks with Bhutan and Myanmar. They said they will cooperate,” Singh said. “Sushmaji (External Affairs Minister) has taken up the matter with one country already.” When asked about further operations, he said, “Let’s wait and watch”.
Firmly ruling out negotiations with the militants, he said, “ We can’t avoid the incidents by terming them as mere acts of insurgency. They are acts of terror. We will deal with them in the manner we deal with terrorists. Terrorists have no caste or religion. There are people trying to call the killings ethnic killings, but they are not.”
Asserting that the violent incidents will be investigated by the NIA, Singh said, “These incidents will be probed by the National Investigation Agency. The Government wants to find out those responsible for this (violence).”
Singh said Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the matter seriously. “He (Modi) wants to develop the region but there are some forces that are trying to obstruct the development. But we will win them over,” he said.
The Minister said he had asked the State government for a time-bound action plan. He said 50 companies of the central paramilitary forces were sent to the State, and the Army and Assam Rifles would coordinate with them.
What makes the task of the Indian security forces difficult in controlling these elements is that the Sangbijit faction of National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) operates from neighbouring Bhutan.
Joint offensive code-named ‘Operation All Clear’, launched by the Indian Army and the Royal Bhutan Army in 2003, killed scores of militants of the banned United Liberation Front of Assam.
In a sign of continuing violence, ten more bodies were recovered putting the death toll at 80. Unofficial sources said it was 83.