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Abductions by NDFB evoke concern

By R Dutta Choudhury

GUWAHATI, Oct 3 � Kidnappings by the militants belonging to the anti-talk faction of the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) have become a cause of major concern for the law enforcing agencies and according to records available, at least 10 persons are still in the captivity of the militant group.

Highly placed police sources told The Assam Tribune that according to records available with the police, as many as 23 cases of kidnappings by the anti-talk faction of the NDFB took place within this year and 28 persons were kidnapped. The actual number may go up as there are instances when kidnapping cases in remote areas go unreported and the families prefer to secure the release of the kidnapped persons by paying the demanded amounts without informing the police. In fact, in most cases of kidnappings by the NDFB, the abducted persons had to come out by paying the ransom demanded by the militants.

Police sources admitted that Sonitpur district is the worst affected as 13 of the 23 cases of kidnappings by the militants so far this year took place in that district and the terrain and proximity to Arunachal Pradesh gives the militants an added advantage.

Giving an account of the problems faced by the police and security forces in preventing kidnappings in Sonitpur district, police sources said that the stretch of reserve forest along the northern boundary of the district has become the main cause of concern as very often the kidnapped persons are taken to the area and whenever any operation is launched in the area, the militants retreat to their bases in Arunachal Pradesh by taking advantage of the fact that there is very little presence of security personnel in the area.

Sources pointed out that thousands of people have encroached upon the reserve forest area and there have been instances when the militants also took shelter in those villages. Moreover, the militants often come down from their bases in Arunachal Pradesh and take shelter in the villages inside the reserve forest before launching any operation and whenever any major counter-insurgency operation is launched in the area, they manage to retreat into their bases. However, there is a ray of hope as the DGP of Arunachal Pradesh has been included in the Unified Command as a special invitee and if coordinated operations are launched by Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, the militants will not find it easy to operate from the neighbouring state, sources added.

Police sources said that as the vulnerable area is officially a reserve forest, the police and security forces are not allowed to construct police station or any permanent picket in the area to improve security vigil. The issue has been taken up with the Forest Department. �If the Forest Department can go for constructions for deployment of forces inside the notified reserve forest area the situation can improve,� sources added. Moreover, there is hardly any presence of the administration in the belt along Sonitpur �Arunachal Pradesh border and because of the fact that the area is a notified reserve forest, no development activity including construction of roads took place in the area, which hampers the movement of the security forces.

It is also a fact that some of the police stations of the district located in the vulnerable areas have to cover big areas. Giving such an example, sources said that the area covered by Dhekiajuli Police Station is nearly the size of Nalbari district and it is almost impossible for the officer in charge of the station to keep watch in the area.

Sources further pointed out that the militants are not going for targeted kidnappings and there have also been instances of kidnapping of school teachers, petty shop owners etc, which make it impossible for the police to keep watch on the possible victims.

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Abductions by NDFB evoke concern

GUWAHATI, Oct 3 � Kidnappings by the militants belonging to the anti-talk faction of the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) have become a cause of major concern for the law enforcing agencies and according to records available, at least 10 persons are still in the captivity of the militant group.

Highly placed police sources told The Assam Tribune that according to records available with the police, as many as 23 cases of kidnappings by the anti-talk faction of the NDFB took place within this year and 28 persons were kidnapped. The actual number may go up as there are instances when kidnapping cases in remote areas go unreported and the families prefer to secure the release of the kidnapped persons by paying the demanded amounts without informing the police. In fact, in most cases of kidnappings by the NDFB, the abducted persons had to come out by paying the ransom demanded by the militants.

Police sources admitted that Sonitpur district is the worst affected as 13 of the 23 cases of kidnappings by the militants so far this year took place in that district and the terrain and proximity to Arunachal Pradesh gives the militants an added advantage.

Giving an account of the problems faced by the police and security forces in preventing kidnappings in Sonitpur district, police sources said that the stretch of reserve forest along the northern boundary of the district has become the main cause of concern as very often the kidnapped persons are taken to the area and whenever any operation is launched in the area, the militants retreat to their bases in Arunachal Pradesh by taking advantage of the fact that there is very little presence of security personnel in the area.

Sources pointed out that thousands of people have encroached upon the reserve forest area and there have been instances when the militants also took shelter in those villages. Moreover, the militants often come down from their bases in Arunachal Pradesh and take shelter in the villages inside the reserve forest before launching any operation and whenever any major counter-insurgency operation is launched in the area, they manage to retreat into their bases. However, there is a ray of hope as the DGP of Arunachal Pradesh has been included in the Unified Command as a special invitee and if coordinated operations are launched by Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, the militants will not find it easy to operate from the neighbouring state, sources added.

Police sources said that as the vulnerable area is officially a reserve forest, the police and security forces are not allowed to construct police station or any permanent picket in the area to improve security vigil. The issue has been taken up with the Forest Department. �If the Forest Department can go for constructions for deployment of forces inside the notified reserve forest area the situation can improve,� sources added. Moreover, there is hardly any presence of the administration in the belt along Sonitpur �Arunachal Pradesh border and because of the fact that the area is a notified reserve forest, no development activity including construction of roads took place in the area, which hampers the movement of the security forces.

It is also a fact that some of the police stations of the district located in the vulnerable areas have to cover big areas. Giving such an example, sources said that the area covered by Dhekiajuli Police Station is nearly the size of Nalbari district and it is almost impossible for the officer in charge of the station to keep watch in the area.

Sources further pointed out that the militants are not going for targeted kidnappings and there have also been instances of kidnapping of school teachers, petty shop owners etc, which make it impossible for the police to keep watch on the possible victims.