Assam State needs 150 cos of Central forces

GUWAHATI, Nov 15 – Assam needs at least 150 companies of Central forces to deal with the overall law-and-order situation in the wake of killing spree launched by the anti-talk faction of the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB).

Highly-placed official sources told The Assam Tribune that the State Government has already requested the Centre to provide additional forces to deal with the situation and to launch an all out operation against the militants.

Sources revealed that as on march last year, the State had 149 companies of Central forces, but gradually forces were withdrawn from the State following disturbance in other parts of the country and now Assam has less than a hundred companies of forces, which is not at all adequate to deal with the situation. “We want that the force availability should be at least brought up to the 2009 level,” sources added.

The Assam Government has raised the issue again before the Union Home Minister P Chidambaram when he reviewed the security situation in the State in a meeting with Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and senior officials of the State Government, police, Army and Central paramilitary forces. However, the Union Home Minister did not make any commitment on providing additional forces to the State.

Sources admitted that the Centre also has its limitations as a number of States of the country are facing problems due to acts of violence by the Maoist rebel groups and additional forces have to be deployed in those areas. Moreover, substantial amount of forces were to be deployed in Bihar for smooth conduct of the elections. However, the Assam Government is expecting some extra forces soon as the Union Home Minister is now well aware of the situation on the ground and the need for additional forces for launching an all out operation against the militants.

Official sources pointed out that with the militants belonging to the anti-talk faction of the NDFB using the jungle area along the border with Arunachal Pradesh, the operations of police and security forces are often hampered as the militants cross over to the neighbouring State whenever pressure is mounted against them. There have also been instances when the militants managed to take kidnapped persons to the jungles of the neighbouring State, sources added.

Under the circumstances, a plan is mooted to launch coordinated operations in both Assam and Arunachal Pradesh to trap the militants and the Director General of Arunachal Pradesh Police has already been included in the Unified Command as a special invitee. Sources admitted that the police personnel of Arunachal Pradesh might not be well equipped to deal with heavily armed militants and the possibility of engaging Army for launching operations within Arunachal Pradesh in near future cannot be ruled out. Sources, however, did not spell out as to when Army may be deployed in the neighbouring State for launching operations saying “it would not be proper to spell out the operational details at this moment.”