Security meet over killings

Another conference tomorrow

Security personnel keep vigil in Guwahati. File picture
Guwahati, Nov. 23 : Delhi is keeping close tabs on the law and order situation in Assam after the anti-talks NDFB killed 23 people early this month.

The Centre’s concern was reflected in the participation of senior officials Sambhu Singh (ministry of home affairs) and R.K. Shukla (Sashastra Seema Bal) at a meeting of senior paramilitary, intelligence, police, army and home officials here today.
The meeting was held to review the situation in the state and tie loose ends within a fortnight of home minister P. Chidambaram’s visit here.
Representatives of Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh police also attended the meeting chaired by Assam chief secretary N.K. Das.
“The Centre is concerned that those killed were soft targets. It (the killings) was carried out after the outfit’s November 1 warning that 20 or more Indians would be killed for every NDFB/innocent Bodo killed by security personnel. There was no pattern to the killing, the victims were unarmed and belonged to Bihari, Nepali, Bengali and Muslim communities. We need to prevent a repeat. The Centre has promised all help,” a source said.
The meeting deliberated on how to make do with existing security personnel, finetune operational strategies by overcoming hurdles, beef up intelligence and coordinate closely with neighbouring states as the anti-talks NDFB cadres often escape to Arunachal Pradesh after carrying out their strikes, primarily in Sonitpur district, which is adjacent to the Bodo belt and has emerged as a main area of concern.
Arunachal Pradesh director-general of police Kanwaljt Deol is understood to have extended all possible help, suggesting regular ground-level meetings between the police and villagers of the two states and exchange of intelligence.
“The meeting assumed significance because it was a follow-up of the home minister’s visit. The ministry of home affairs is holding another round of reviews on Wednesday where issues such as additional forces will be discussed. As things stand today, there will be no let up in operations, even in Upper Assam which is relatively peaceful since Ulfa’s A and C companies came overground,” another source said.
Investigators have sent a report to the Centre, identifying some of those involved in the killings that followed the anti-talks NDFB’s warning.
“The killings were carried out by the NDFB’s armed wing — the Boroland Army — which has fallen out with incarcerated Ranjan Daimary. It is headed by I.K. Songbit and B. Jwngkang and has around four commanders, including Sagrit who was involved in the Kokrajhar killings. He carries a reward of Rs 1 lakh on his head. This group has around 50 armed cadres and is concentrating in some Sonitpur areas which they claim as their historical land and right. They also lay a claim on Dhemaji and Lakhimpur, making the three north bank districts vulnerable, ” a source said.
The first meeting lasted over two hours and was followed by another of the Unified Command’s operational group, indicating the seriousness with which Dispur is taking the situation.