Arunachal to have Unified Command to combat insurgency

April 20th, 2008 - 11:44 am ICT by admin  

By Syed Zarir Hussain
Itanagar, April 20 (IANS) Arunachal Pradesh is soon expected to have a Unified Command structure to combat separatists from neighbouring Assam and Nagaland who are using the mountainous region as a base to carry out their hit-and-run guerrilla strikes. According to top government sources, the decision to have a Unified Command comes in the wake of intelligence inputs of militant groups like the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) setting up well-entrenched bases in Arunachal’s Tirap, Changlang, and Lohit districts.

“The Unified Command that is likely to be initiated would be similar to the one currently operational in Assam,” a senior government official said requesting anonymity.

While the overall head of the Unified Command would be Chief Minister Dorjee Khandu, general officer commanding of the army’s Four Corps based in Assam’s northern town of Tezpur Lt. Gen. B.S. Jaswal would command the operations.

Former army chief and presently Arunachal Pradesh Governor Gen. (Retd.) J.J. Singh is believed to have been providing vital inputs in mapping out strategies and modalities for the Unified Command.

In recent months, the ULFA, a rebel group fighting for an independent Assamese homeland, have relocated several of their bases to the dense jungles in Arunachal Pradesh following mounting security offensive.

“The ULFA is not only setting up bases in the state but also using Arunachal Pradesh as a transit to Myanmar. We cannot allow our state to be used by militants from other states for anti-national activities,” the official told IANS.

The ULFA apart, what has also worried the Arunachal Pradesh government is the growing presence of the two warring factions of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN).

“Extortion and kidnappings are common place in parts of Tirap and Changlang districts by the NSCN. The area is gradually becoming a lawless region,” a police official said.

Chief Minister Khandu had earlier gone on record saying the S.S. Khaplang faction of the NSCN were on a recruitment drive in the state and kidnapped more than 50 local tribal youths to join the outfit.

“These are serious issues and we cannot allow our peaceful state to be vitiated,” he said.

Interestingly, Arunachal Pradesh, bordering China’s Tibet region and Myanmar, does not have any local insurgent outfit.

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