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MHA convenes meet on May 20 to discuss ‘urban guerrillas’
R Dutta Choudhury
 GUWAHATI, May 18 - As activities of ‘urban guerrillas’ – people living in cities and towns and helping militants carry out their activities – has become a major cause for concern for police and security forces, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has convened a high-level meeting on May 20 to discuss the issue to evolve strategies to deal with it.

 Meanwhile, no decision has been taken on repealing the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act as claimed by senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday.

Highly placed official sources told The Assam Tribune that the recent blast in Guwahati led to the discovery of the fact that some ‘urban guerrillas’ are acting on the behest of militants and serious efforts are on to identify them. The Union Home Ministry, which is closely monitoring the situation in Assam, is also concerned over the fact and has directed that the Central agencies, State intelligence agencies and the Army intelligence should work in close coordination to identify such persons.

The meeting convened by the Home Ministry on Monday is scheduled to be chaired by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, while Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who is also in charge of the State Home Department, will lead the Assam government team. The meeting is likely to evolve strategies to deal with the ‘urban guerillas’.

Sources revealed that police and security agencies have so far identified more than 25 ‘urban guerillas’ from different walks of life. Some are even working in colleges and those identified so far are staying in places like Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Lakhimpur, Sivasagar, etc. However, it has still not been decided what action would be taken against them even though they are being kept under surveillance.

“When a member of a militant outfit indulges in an act of violence, it is easier to detect the person. But when urban guerillas indulge in unlawful activities, it is difficult to detect them. For example, people knew Jahnabi Saikia as an actress and only during investigation into the blast in Guwahati, police came to know that she was working on behalf of the militants,” the sources added.

Sources also said that one Amrit Ballav Goswami, who was once a member of the Enigma group of the ULFA, was arrested long back and after coming out of jail, he was running a school in Merapani and was arrested on Friday for working on behalf of the ULFA.

Meanwhile, on Congress leader P Chidambaram’s claim that a decision was taken to repeal the AFSPA, sources said that the issue has not even been discussed. Sources said that to repeal the Act, a detailed discussion involving all security agencies would be required to thoroughly review the situation and no such discussion has taken place.

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