No ‘classical’ insurgency in northeast: Assam Rifles chief

August 26th, 2011 - 9:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Nongkrem (Meghalaya), Aug 26 (IANS) The insurgency in India’s northeastern states can no longer be viewed as “classical” guerilla warfare as it lost the support of the people, the head of the largest paramilitary force in the region said Friday.

“There is no classical insurgency as as it lost the support of the people. The fact they resorted to extortion shows that they no longer have the help and support of the people,” Assam Rifles chief Lt. Gen. Rameshwar Roy Friday told journalists here.

Holding that the level of disturbances had come down in region, he said: “This year, only five undergrounds (insurgents) have been killed by security forces compared to 69 undergrounds killed last year. Last year, 1,132 undergrounds were apprehended and the number so far this year is 610 and 155 undergrounds have surrendered in the region till
date as against 270 last year.”

The Assam Rifles Chief, however, said that various “splinter groups” still active in the region were wholly engaged in extorting from “their very own people” whose cause they have been claiming to be fighting for.

“There is no more coordinated guerilla warfare in the region, but there is a need for raising the capabilities of police forces in the region to maintain this peaceful situation,” Roy said.

Asked about the reason for the improved law and order scenario in the region, the Assam Rifles chief said: “The improved situation was mainly to better socio-economic and political conditions besides the preventive measures taken by the security forces.”

“There was good reason for happiness in the region. When there was popular support, these (insurgent) groups were not into extortion, but now all of them are involved in extortion, troubling the common man, which marks the beginning of the end of UG (rebel) movement, whatever may be their issue,” he added.

On the controversial continuation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Roy maintained that it solely depended on the respective state governments.

“We in uniform have nothing to do with it. They (politicians) have to decide whether the act should be applied,” Roy said.

The Assam Rifles chief also informed that the Centre has sanctioned a request to reserve five percent posts for women in the force.

“The process of raising all-women companies has started. It will take about three years. Some 3,300 women are expected to be recruited,” Roy said.

He said the all-women companies would be deployed in situations where women stage protests.

Roy said the Assam Rifles has also asked for a sanction to raise two “ecological battalions” to be deployed in the region.

“These battalions will help restore the ecological balance in the region. They will be engaged in activities like tree plantations, awareness programmes and others,” he added.

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