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Threat from rebels now comes from Arunachal and Nagaland: Assam’s top cop

The police in Assam are grappling with a new challenge. It is about the insurgents’ use of the soil of neighbouring states to carry out subversive activities in Assam.

Published: 17th January 2018 07:16 PM  |   Last Updated: 17th January 2018 07:16 PM   |  A+A-

File Image of Assam DGP Mukesh Sahay at spot after three Indian army troopers were killed and four other critically injured as suspected ULFA(I) militants ambushed then at Pengri in Tinsukia district, Assam during 2016. | PTI

Express News Service

GUWAHATI: The police in Assam are grappling with a new challenge. It is about the insurgents’ use of the soil of neighbouring states to carry out subversive activities in Assam.

The state’s director general of police (DGP), Mukesh Sahay, told The New Indian Express that while things improved a lot, the threat was still there. It now comes from Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland, not within Assam, he said on Wednesday.

The assertions came a day after suspected militants of the SS Khaplang faction of National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-K) had set ablaze nine crude oil-laden tankers at Namchik on the Assam-Arunachal border. According to defence sources, there are inputs that the militants would try to perpetrate similar attacks in eastern Assam’s Tinsukia district in the run-up to Republic Day.

Sahay said events such as the R-Day had always been a challenging time for the police. 

“They try to create a problem to get their presence noticed. So, we are working on that…We are trying to tie up with Arunachal and Nagaland. With the whole Unified Command being further reinforced, we are working based on aggressive operations and intelligence. Our ADG is camping there (in Tinsukia) to work this out,” he said.

At a conference of the DGs in Guwahati last year, Sahay had suggested the formation of a conglomerate of the police forces in the Northeast in line with some militant outfits which have formed a joint front called the United National Liberation Front of Western South East Asia or UNLFW, which operates out of Myanmar.

Sahay said, “Police being a state subject and the sacrosanct nature of the state boundary, we have to go carefully and take everyone on board. This cannot be thrust upon everybody. The consensus is evolving how to transcend the border with technology, system and individual interface…Four districts of Arunachal and two districts of Nagaland provide them with the terrain and historical age-old access from Myanmar to Assam. So, they are taking advantage of it and we are trying to counter that. While things have improved a lot, the problem is still there. It is not reduced to zero."

The militants often use routes in the four districts of Arunachal to sneak in and out of Myanmar and the defence sources said the routes were many to be choked.

“There are thick jungles. Moreover, what makes it difficult for the security forces is their unarmed movement. Often, they will move around in civvies and without weapons, making it difficult for the security forces to determine who is who because there is also civilian movement there,” the sources added.

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