GUWAHATI, July 7 � Though Union Home Minister P Chidambaram announced last year that full scale operations against militants would be launched in Tirap and Changlang districts of Arunachal Pradesh, that has not yet been done as yet and the militants are still using the area to visit their camps in Myanmar.
Significantly, the security agencies recently came across information that the militant groups, having bases in Myanmar, are toying with the idea of coming under one umbrella at least for launching operations.
Highly placed official sources told The Assam Tribune that militant groups, including NSCN (K), United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), anti-talk faction of the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) and some outfits of Manipur, have their strong bases in Myanmar and the possibility of them joining hands, at least to help each other in launching offensives in India, cannot be ruled out. However, it is still not known whether they would formally join hands as in that case, there is fear among them that they might lose their identity.
Sources said that the ULFA is managing to stay in Myanmar with the help of NSCN (K) as the latter is making money by providing shelter to other militant groups of the region. Sources revealed that the NSCN (K) also has strong bases in Tirap and Changlang districts of Arunachal Pradesh and other militant outfits are also maintaining shelters in those areas.
Till date, a full scale operation has not been launched in the area to evict the bases of the militant groups. If the militants can be evicted from the area, one of the major supply lines to the Myanmar camps will be snapped, sources pointed out.
Commenting on the activities of militant groups in Assam, sources said that extortion bids by militants is a major cause of concern. The ULFA (anti-talk faction) has been serving extortion notes in the Upper Assam districts and two private drilling companies have also received such demand notes from the outfit, following which security of the oil installations was enhanced.
Moreover, the anti-talk faction of the NDFB has also served demand notes to traders and others in the BTC areas. Sources said that the militants might be using their linkmen to collect funds and it is not known whether those who received extortion notes are paying the demanded amount.
Official sources said that the possibility of the ULFA and NDFB anti-talk factions indulging in acts of violence to make their presence felt cannot be ruled out. The ULFA reportedly sent a group of militants from Myanmar to indulge in acts of violence and a few of them were arrested and two were killed. A group is still reportedly staying in Tirap-Changlang area waiting for a chance to enter Assam, sources added.
On the other hand, the NDFB is still maintaining bases in Bhutan so that they can retreat to those bases whenever the pressure from the security forces increases. However, sources said that the militants have not been able to set up full fledged camps in Bhutan.