Monday, December 19, 2011

Maoist links worry forces - Cop meet discusses Left-wing rebels

Maoist links worry forces

- Cop meet discusses Left-wing rebels
The conference of DGPs/IGPs at NEDFi House on Monday. Picture by UB Photos

Guwahati, Dec. 19:Intelligence agencies are worried over a "strategic and tactical" alliance between Maoists and insurgent outfits of the Northeast.

Speaking at a two-day conference of DGPs/IGPs and the heads of the Central Police Organisations of the Northeast, special director of Intelligence Bureau (IB) R.N. Ravi today said the Left-wing extremists have forged an alliance with the valley-based insurgent groups of Manipur.

"This is an area we have to be very careful about," said Ravi, adding that there has been a spurt in Maoist activities in Assam and Manipur.

The conference, inaugurated by Assam chief secretary Naba Kumar Das, was convened by the Intelligence Bureau to work out a joint strategy to counter Maoist activities in the region. Apart from senior police officers of the Northeast and Bengal, top officials of the army, Assam Rifles, BSF and the National Investigation Agency (NIA) attended the conference. Ravi was also concerned about the presence of camps of anti-India militant groups in Myanmar. "There was an expression of goodwill by the Myanmar government but if we look at the ground situation, there is not much room for comfort," he said.

The conference, being held at NEDFi House at Dispur, will conclude tomorrow.

The IB special director said there has been a sharp decline in violence in the region, with several militant organisations coming forward for talks.

"However, the renegades acquiring capabilities for escalated violence remains a cause for concern," he said.

He underscored the escalation of violence at Garo Hills in Meghalaya and intermittent clashes between rival rebel groups of Nagaland as areas of concern.

"Arunachal Pradesh is no longer an island of peace since there have been clashes between Naga militant groups in Tirap and Changlang districts," Ravi said.

"Moreover, the valley-based insurgent groups of Manipur forming a coalition among themselves does not augur well for the state," he said.

On the situation in the Siliguri corridor that connects the Northeast with the rest of the country, he said even though the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation is now lying low, they have the potential to mount attacks, while Gorkha militancy is a potential threat in the area.

The conference sought to work towards better operational cooperation, investigation capabilities, border management and intelligence sharing.

An official source, on condition of anonymity, said IB experts on the Left-wing extremists briefed the participants about the Maoists and their modus operandi.

"The IB officials stated that the Maoists have turned their focus on the Northeast to expand their sphere of influence. At present, their main intention is to strengthen their grassroots support base in this region and not to indulge in violence," the source said.

Maoist activities have also been noticed in some areas along Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border, he said.

"There are also reports about Maoist elements trying to infiltrate the struggling forces that have launched agitation or movement on public issues in the state," the source said.

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