GUWAHATI, Sept 14 - Though militancy is on the wane in Assam, the government is not keen on lowering its guard and that is the reason why the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) and the Unified Command Structure will remain in operation in the State for at least another six months to ensure that the menace is completely wiped out.
Official sources told The Assam Tribune that though the level of violence and activities of militants have come down drastically in recent times, the government is not keen on taking any chances, as in the past there were instances where the militants managed to regroup after facing severe setbacks.
�The government feels that the Army operations against the militants should continue for some more time to ensure that militancy is completely wiped out,� sources added.
The AFSPA was imposed in Assam in November, 1990 and it is being extended in every six months since then. However, on the last four occasions, the term of the Act was extended by the Assam government and not the Centre.
Sources said the publication of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) was peaceful, but in case of any trouble in any part of the State, personnel of police and other central forces would have to be engaged in maintaining law and order, and there would be need for the Army for counterinsurgency operations. That was another reason why the government decided to extend the AFSPA, as creating a vacuum by sending the Army to the barracks would not be a wise decision at this moment. �Moreover, there was no allegation of human rights violation from any part of the State in recent times because of the Army�s presence and no organisation is strongly demanding withdrawal of the Act,� sources pointed out.
Along with the AFSPA, the Unified Command Structure would also continue for at least six more months. The Unified Command Structure was put in place in Assam in 1997 with the State Chief Secretary as the head of the strategy group and the GoC of the 4 Corps of the Army as the head of the operational group. The creation of the Unified Command improved the synergy among the forces deployed on the ground for counterinsurgency operations and sharing of inputs among the forces also helped a great deal in tackling militancy.
Meanwhile, commenting on the overall insurgency scenario, sources said that after the Myanmar Army operations against the militant groups of the Northeast taking shelter in that country, the militants are on the run and they have not been able to launch any major offensive for some time. But there have been reports of movement of small groups of militants in the interstate border areas, while there were also reports of presence of some members of the National Democratic Front of Boroland (S) in the BTAD areas.
Some new militant outfits are also trying to make their presence felt in the hill districts of Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao and the police and security forces cannot afford to lower their guard till militancy is wiped out, sources added.