R Dutta Choudhury
GUWAHATI, Oct 2 – With Tirap and Changlang districts of Arunachal Pradesh becoming a hotbed of militant activities, the Government of India has decided to launch a full scale operation in the area. A major offensive in the area will also restrict the movement of the militants from their bases in Myanmar.
Highly placed security sources told The Assam Tribune that the militants belonging to the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) normally use two major routes to enter India from the camps in Myanmar. One of the routes is through the Mon district of Nagaland and the other through the Tirap and Changlang districts. But in recent times, the ULFA members are mostly using the route through Arunachal Pradesh and launching of an offensive in that area would make it difficult for the militants to maintain the shelters in the place.
Sources said that as the Arunachal Police force at this moment is not strong enough for launching a major crackdown against the ultras, the Centre is planning to deploy central forces for carrying out the job. Sources revealed that one brigade of the Assam Rifles is also deployed in the area, while, the Army can operate up to 20 kilometres from the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border under the provisions of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.
Sources revealed that though the ceasefire with both factions of the NSCN is applicable only to the state of Nagaland, both NSCN (I-M) and NSCN(K) have strong bases in Tirap and Changlang and the militants belonging to the outfits are engaged in extortion and other illegal activities. The outfits even went to the extent of demanding money from some of the legislators of the area and in recent times, the NSCN(I-M) was also involved in meddling in the political affairs of the state. The outfit also reportedly tried to launch an offensive against the Jarbom Gamlin Government after the Chief Minister approached the Centre with the request to launch an offensive in the area.
In addition to both factions of the NSCN and ULFA, the Maoist rebel groups are also trying to establish roots in Tirap and Changlang and concerned over the developments, the Government of India is planning an offensive in the area.
Meanwhile, sources admitted that though Assam Rifles was entrusted with the responsibility of guarding the India-Myanmar border to restrict the movement of the militants, the move has not yet been very successful as most of the camps of the force are located well inside Indian territory and not on the border. Sources said that creation of infrastructure along the border would take some time and as most of those areas is notified reserve forest, the Government will have to go through lots of paperwork to create infrastructure, which also slowed down the process of deployment of the forces right on the border.
The Assam Tribune