GUWAHATI, March 4 - Though there has been vast improvement of the overall law and order situation in Assam, there is need for consolidating the position to prevent militants from regrouping and that is why, the Government decided to extend the term of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act for a period of six more months. Moreover, the process of updating of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) and ensuing Panchayat polls also contributed to the decision to further extend the Act.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, Director General of Assam Police, Mukesh Sahay said that the militants are �down but still not out� and the police and security forces cannot afford to lower their guards. There is need for consolidating the position against the militants and �we still cannot lower our guards. We cannot afford to relax till militancy is finished.�
Sahay pointed out that in recent times; incidents of violence involving the militants have come down drastically , but there are still some areas of concern. The militant groups still have bases in Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland and they try to sneak into Assam from such bases to indulge in acts of violence. He said that the coordination of the Assam Police with the police forces of Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland improved considerably. The personnel of the armed forces are also operating in the areas frequented by the militants to sneak into Assam from their bases in Myanmar through the states of Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. The Assam Police cannot go and operate in the neighbouring states and the personnel of the armed forces are of big help in launching operations in such places.
The DGP said that a few members of the National Democratic Front of Boroland (S) including senior leader of the outfit G Bidai are still at large in the areas bordering Bhutan, while hardcore ULFA(I) leader Drishti Rajkhowa is still active in the Garo Hills. Under the circumstances, the Government took the opinion of all the stakeholders and decided to extend the term of the AFSPA for another six months. He said that the situation would be reviewed periodically and the Government would take a decision on further extension of the Act accordingly.
Sahay admitted that efforts are on by the ULFA(I) to launch extortion drive, particularly in upper Assam areas as the outfit is facing severe financial crisis. But most of their attempts were foiled. He said that there is need to choke the flow of funds to the militants. Similarly, the supply lines of the militants need to be totally cut off to ensure that they cannot sustain for a long period. He pointed out that in past one year, there have been several instances of seizures of supplies meant for the militants and if the police and security forces can totally cut off the supply lines, it would be difficult for the militants to sustain.
Sahay also said that though the AFSPA is still in force, the incidents of allegations of human rights violations have come down as very strong guidelines have been issued to all the forces operating on the ground and strict actions were taken against anyone found to be indulging in any kind of human right violation.