Oust Paresh, CM to Myanmar

GUWAHATI: Myanmar's assurances that it would not allow its territory to be used for insurgent activities against India has prompted chief minister Tarun Gogoi to demand Ulfa hardliners' commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah's ouster from the neighbouring country.

A spokesman of the ministry of external affairs on Thursday, during a briefing on the ongoing visit of Myanmar president U Thein Sein to India, said in New Delhi on Friday that India has received assurances that Myanmar territory will not be allowed to be used for insurgent activities against India and both sides will remain in close and regular contact in this regard.

"This is very good news for the northeastern region and for Assam in particular as Ulfa and some other NE militant outfits are based in Myanmar. We know that Paresh Baruah is there too. Like Bhutan and then Bangladesh, I think Myanmar too should oust the Indian militant outfits and Paresh Baruah from its territory," Gogoi said here on Saturday.

He said though Myanmar is not an immediate neighbour of the state, having a good relationship with the country would not just improve the security situation in Assam but also help develop the economy of the region under India's Look East Policy.

"The hotbed of insurgency in the state is at the junction of Sadiya (upper Assam), Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar. This area is interconnected and provides easy access to militants to sneak in and out of Myanmar," Gogoi said.

The chief minister added that the NDFB and Ulfa wreaked havoc in the state in throughout the 90s from their headquarters in Bhutan. After the 2003 Bhutan offensive, the two outfits shifted base to Bangladesh and then to Myanmar when Bangladesh clamped down on them, he said.

Recently, Myanmarese forces attacked camps of Indian militant outfits though no casualties were reported on either side. The Indian militants are sheltering at a unified camp in the Taga area of Kachin region in Myanmar, which is close to Indian territory. This camp houses the mobile military headquarters of Baruah's Ulfa faction and also serves as the base of eight other outfits from Manipur, including the NSCN(K).

"Ulfa has about 80 to 90 members in the unified camp. Top leaders of Baruah's group like Jibon Moran, Michael Deka Phukan, Bijoy Das and Sujeet Mohan are hiding at the camp. However, we are not sure about Baruah's presence. Ulfa has three other camps in Myanmar - the Arakan base with about six cadres, the Naga base with about eight inmates and the 28th battalion headquarters with just three rebels," said Gogoi.

Security sources said that besides Ulfa and NSCN(K), Myanmar is also the base of militant outfits including the PLA, the UNLF, Prepak and the KYKL from Manipur.