GUWAHATI, Aug 27 - Though militancy in Assam is on the wane and the level of violence has come down, the State Government is not willing to take any chance and that is why, the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) has been extended by another six months with effect from tomorrow. The Act was imposed in the State in November, 1990 and it has been extended every six months.
The notification extending the Act for another six months said that there have been reports of presence of extremist elements in parts of the State and in the neighbouring states along the inter-state borders. There have been incidents of arms recoveries and attacks on security forces in the neighbouring states. Under the provisions of the Act, the entire State has been declared as �disturbed area� for another six months.
Meanwhile, official sources told The Assam Tribune that apart from the reasons mentioned in the notification, several other factors contributed to the Government�s decision to extend the Act. Sources said that the Government wants to maintain the level of dominance to prevent the militant groups from regrouping by taking advantage of withdrawal of Army. Though all the four factions of the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) signed the peace accord with the Government of India, the United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) is still active, while, several other smaller militant groups are also active in the State.
Sources pointed out that the umbrella body of the militant outfits of North East, of which the ULFA(I) is a constituent, was involved in acts of violence in the neighbouring states and there is a possibility that the ultras might try to indulge in such activities in Assam also. �It is a well known fact that Chinese agencies have been directly or indirectly helping the militant groups of North East and after the face off between India and China along the international border, the possibility of Chinese agencies instigating the militant groups of North East to indulge in acts of violence cannot be ruled out,� sources added.
Sources further said that the militant groups may also take advantage of emotive issues to increase their strength. During the peak of the movement against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, around 60 youths had joined the ULFA(I). Moreover, signing of an agreement with the rebel groups of Nagaland may lead to trouble in the inter-state border areas. The elections to the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) is also due and the BTC elections have history of violence. Keeping all these factors in mind, the State Government decided to go for extension of the Act for another six months.