R Dutta Choudhury
NEW DELHI, Dec 23 - Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has asked Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to take pro-active steps to deal strongly with the attempts by the United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) to revive itself and indulge in acts of violence. The Centre has also asked the State Government to take action as per law against the overground collaborators and supporters of the militants.
Highly placed sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) told The Assam Tribune that the Centre is closely monitoring the overall law and order situation in Assam and other parts of the region. The MHA is of the view that in recent years, there have been substantial improvement in the overall situation, while, the level of violence involving the militant groups has come down drastically. That is why, the Centre did not increase the term of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in Assam and it was the State Government, which did so, sources added. Sources also said that the Act is now in place only in a few places in the region, where the situation is still considered to be fluid.
Commenting on the recent acts of violence and the reports of few youths joining the ULFA(I), mostly from the upper Assam areas, sources said, “the Centre is not worried over the attempts by the militants to recruit youths and indulge in violence. It is obvious that any militant outfit would try to increase its strength and show its presence by indulging in acts of violence. But the worrying factor for the Centre is the failure of the police and security forces to take effective counter action to prevent the ultras from doing so.” Even after the killing in Dhola and a few incidents of kidnapping and extortion, the police and security forces failed to take tough action against the militants, which is a matter of concern, sources pointed out.
MHA sources said that during a recent meeting, the Union Home Minister told the Assam Chief Minister that effective steps should be taken against the militants and the attempts of the ULFA(I) to revive itself and indulge in acts of violence should be nipped in the bud. The MHA is of the view that over the years, the Assam Police with support of the security forces dealt firmly with the militants to keep them on the run and there is no reason why the same forces cannot keep militancy under control now. The MHA also advocated firm action against anyone involved in killing of innocent civilians and the Centre’s stand on the issue of talks with the militants is now very clear. Any outfit, which is involved in killing of innocents will be dealt with firmly and there is no possibility of talks with such outfits. That is why, the Government decided to come down heavily against the National Democratic Front of Boroland (S) and rejected the feelers sent by some leaders of the outfit for talks when they came under pressure from the forces, sources pointed out.
The Union Home Minister also asked the Chief Minister, who is also in charge of the Home Department, to take action against the “overground collaborators” of the militants as per the provisions of the law. “There are reports which suggest that some overground collaborators of the militants in Assam are doing more serious damage to the security scenario than the urban Naxals against whom action was taken in different parts of the country and there is need for taking action against them to deal with militancy in the region,” sources added.