NEW DELHI: In the wake of the violent incidents in Assam, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday met Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag to discuss the situation in the strife-torn State. “We are definitely going to intensify operations in the State,” said the Army chief.
General Suhag said it was a review meeting on the State security situation. “The meeting was to review the security situation in Assam,” the Army Chief said and added that 66 Army columns are being deployed for counter-insurgency operations. Against the backdrop of Tuesday’s massacre, the Army plans to launch an all-out operation to flush out the Bodo militants and is moving an additional 66 columns (about 2,700 troops) to the trouble-hit areas.
While 9,000 troops are already present in the region, more are expected to be added. Three units of Assam Rifles that specialise in jungle warfare have also been deployed.
The GoC of the 4 Corps, located in the worst-hit Sonitpur district, heads the Unified Command which conducts the counter-insurgency operations in Assam.
During the meeting, Rajnath asked the Army chief to increase the presence of Army personnel to ensure peace in the State. It was also decided to deploy Army jawans in Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya, where there is a presence of Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) militants.
The Home Minister is believed to have discussed the issue of coordinated operations with the forces of Bhutan and Myanmar against the NDFB, which has bases in the two neighbouring countries, said a source.
Suhag told Rajnath that local commanders have been asked to ensure peace and instill confidence among the public, the source said. “The primary role of the Army would be area domination and ensuring no further clashes between Bodos and tribals,” added the source.
Meanwhile, the Union government has extended the Suspension of Operations (SoO) agreement with the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Progressive), (NDFB(P)), for six months. This followed tripartite talks with the representatives of NDFB(P) on December 22. The meeting was attended by officials of the Assam government and the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
In the meeting, demands of the NDFB(P) were discussed, according to a statement issued by the Home Ministry.