GUWAHATI, Feb 16 � The Government of India has directed the Assam Government to keep close watch on the situation to prevent the Maoist rebel groups from establishing strong roots in the State. Meanwhile, the Union Home Minister, P Chidambaram is scheduled to visit the North East region on February 18 to assess the situation in Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura.
Highly placed official sources told The Assam Tribune that though the entire North East region is vulnerable for Maoist activities, Assam is considered most vulnerable as it would be difficult for the Maoists to spread to other parts of the region without having strong bases in Assam. Sources said that according to intelligence inputs, a central committee member of the Maoists recently visited Assam, but his visit could not be confirmed. But it is a fact that senior Maoist leader Kishenji visited parts of Lower Assam a few days before his death in West Bengal, sources added.
Sources said that several the Maoists arrested in Assam jumped bail and their whereabouts are now not known. Those who jumped bail include Aditya Bora, who was arrested from a Maoist camp in a jungle bordering Orissa and Jharkhand. There have also been reports of some youths visiting Orissa and Jharkhand for training with the Maoists. However, a section of people of Assam, mainly tea garden workers, have relatives in Jharkhand and they frequently visit the state. Under the circumstances, it is difficult to keep track of the movement of youths from Assam to Jharkhand, sources added.
On the possible links between the Maoist rebels and hard line faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), sources said the possibility of tactical alliance between the two cannot be ruled out. The Maoists and the hard line faction of the ULFA both have close ties with Manipur based outfit PLA and there is strong possibility of Maoists forging ties with the ULFA.
Sources pointed out that the ULFA has abundance of sophisticated weapons and the Maoists may try to establish contacts with the ULFA for weapons. What is more disturbing is that in recent times, in addition to weapons made in China, the ultras of North East started using weapons manufactured in European countries. A number of weapons recovered from the ultras in recent times were made in Germany and Italy. The weapons are brought into India mostly through Myanmar and it is believed that Dimapur has become a hub for transaction of weapons by the militant groups.
On reports that the Maoists have bases in some parts of Arunachal Pradesh, sources said that a close watch on the situation is being maintained. However, Arunachal Police is handicapped by severe shortage of force.