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House panel concern over abduction of women in Assam
KALYAN BAROOAH
 NEW DELHI, Feb 10 - Alarmed by the high rate of abduction of women in Assam, a parliamentary panel has directed the Centre to carry out investigations into the cases. The Centre and the State government were also asked to launch operations to trace and recover the abduction victims.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee attached to the Ministry of Home Affairs in its report tabled in the Parliament pointed out the existence of a connection between such abductions and human trafficking, and asked the Centre to carry out an inter-state investigation and submit a detailed status note about the action taken to recover such victims.

Notwithstanding the declining trend of insurgency-related violence in Assam, the State continues to be rocked by incidence of extortions and kidnapping, the parliamentary panel noted, expressing concern on the fact that a large number of victims, who were abducted in Assam before and during 2016, are yet to be recovered. Even more worrisome is the fact that a large majority, at more than 81 per cent, of victims are women, it said.

The panel further said that it is disconcerted to note that Assam has the highest rate of violent crimes, and kidnappings and abductions, among all the states of India. It said the Government of Assam has been directed to furnish a detailed status note on the issue, which is awaited. However, the panel said it will come out with a separate report on the issue.

The parliamentary panel apprehended that the rise in violent crimes and abductions in Assam may be due to poor rehabilitation and settlement of former insurgents who may be indulging in such crimes for ransom. It, therefore, recommended that the Central government in coordination with the State government, should closely monitor the activities of insurgents, who have surrendered during the last decade, and also those with whom the government is presently holding negotiations.

The Union Home Minister in its action taken report (ATR) had said that a mechanism was established to monitor the activities of insurgents who had surrendered during the last decade and also those with whom the government is presently holding negotiations. The Union government signed suspension of operations agreements with the groups of surrendered militants and there are ground rules and regulations to be followed by the surrendered ultras. A joint monitoring group is also there for monitoring activities of insurgent groups.

The panel also noted that talks were stalled and the insurgent groups have become restive and have even resorted to hunger strike. There is a lack of seriousness of purpose shown by the government on this issue, by first shifting the interlocutor, appointed for holding talks with the Assam-based insurgent groups, to Jammu and Kashmir, and then not appointing another one immediately.

The Centre was asked to ensure that the talks are held on a continuous basis with utmost sincerity to keep the insurgent groups at the negotiation table and maintain the security scenario in the northeastern region that has been achieved with painstaking efforts and numerous sacrifices.

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