NEW DELHI, April 16 (IANS): Concerned about the growing Maoist movement in Assam, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said Monday that the central government should include the state in the framework of development and security schemes that constitute the strategy against left-wing extremism.
Addressing the chief ministers' conference on internal security, he appealed to the central government for pre-emptive action to thwart left-wing insurgency by including Assam within the various schemes, including the Integrated Action Plan (IAP), to counter Maoist insurgency.
"The Maoist movement is at a nascent stage but has the potential to grow into a major threat since links have already been established with affected states like Jharkhand and Odisha and there is a definite Maoist presence in Upper Assam districts," Gogoi said at the conference at Vigyan Bhavan here.
The Assam chief minister also pointed out that 21 Maoist cadres had been arrested in Assam so far and several of them had confessed to having been trained by guerrillas in other states.
"Apart from continuing deployment of central forces, my state government would need help in addressing issues that are critical to achieving the outcomes that we all desire," Gogoi said.
"Some of these include pre-emptive action to thwart the spread of the CPI-Maoist in the state by including Assam within the framework of existing GoI (government of India) development and security schemes, including Integrated Action Plan (IAP), that constitute counter-Maoist strategy," he said.
Gogoi also expressed concern over the inter-state linkages of militants with Arunachal Pradesh, Garo Hills of Meghalaya and parts of Nagaland, and said that Dimapur in Nagaland was emerging as a centre for illegal arms trade and shelter for criminals and militants.
"The illegal coal trade originating in bordering area of Nagaland transits through Assam and is fast becoming a major source of funding for different militant outfits," he pointed out.
Gogoi, who had apprised the central leadership about the decreasing trend of violence in Assam, also appealed to the central government for assistance in building civil policing capabilities in the state. He laid stress on police housing, appropriate training, management structures and modernisation of the forces.
He asked that financial help under the Modernisation of Police Forces (MPF) scheme be extended to the entire 12th Plan period (2012-17) so that upgrading police capabilities could be systematically planned.
The central government has allotted Assam Rs.520 crore in the past 10 years under the MPF scheme.
The chief minister also proposed setting up in Assam a Regional Training Centre for Intelligence and Security catering to the seven northeastern states. The proposed institute, he said, would not only address common regional issues but also create an informal network among police officials of all states in the region.
He added that the state should be allowed to recruit local special police officers (SPOs) at borders with Bhutan and Bangladesh as a second line of defence so that militant outfits cannot use the neighbouring countries as safe sanctuaries.
Assam shares a 267-km border with Bangladesh and 269-km boundary with Bhutan.
The Assam chief minister also stressed fast completion of border fencing works along the border with Bangladesh, better patrolling of India-Bangladesh river border, and computer-aided police response service, including CCTV coverage of Guwahati city.