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New policy to tackle NE militancy soon

By R Dutta Choudhury
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GUWAHATI, Sept 28 � The Government of India will soon come out with a new policy for dealing with militancy in the North Eastern region and the existing policy is being reviewed thoroughly. The Government is also examining the viability of continuing with the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.

Highly placed sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) told The Assam Tribune that the policy of talking with any militant group which expresses its desire for talks, may be amended. It is now being reviewed whether the talks are yielding the desired results as new outfits are cropping up every year in the North East and on most occasions, the splinter groups of the outfits under ceasefire agreement are creating major problems.

Giving some examples, sources said that after the Government started talks with the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB), a faction headed by Ranjan Daimary was involved in one of the worst ever killings in the State on October 30, 2008. When the NDFB (R) came for talks, the Songbijit faction of the outfit is creating trouble. Similarly, only one faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) came for talks, while the other faction is still waging a war against the nation. The signing of the ceasefire agreement with the United People�s Democratic Solidarity (UPDS) did not bring peace to Karbi Anglong as new outfits cropped up. So far, the Government agreed to talk with any militant group which expressed its desire to do so, but the policy may be changed now.

However, sources admitted that the ongoing talks with the militant outfits would continue. But in this regard too, the Government is concerned over the slow progress and may decide to set deadlines to complete the process with every outfit.

The policy of accepting surrender of militants and their rehabilitation is also being reviewed and some changes are likely to be made in the policy. Sources said that as per a study, whenever a militant outfit comes overground, it shows highly inflated figures of number of their members, while persons who never had any record of being actively involved with militancy have also �surrendered� to take different benefits offered by the Government.

The third major issue under review is the over-dependence of the states on Central forces to deal with militancy. The Centre is of the view that the State Governments of the North East are depending too much on the Central forces despite funds provided by the Centre for modernisation of the police forces and there is a need for the police to play a more pro-active role. Sources pointed out that sometimes shortage of Central forces creates problems as the states keep asking for more forces and only strengthening of the state police forces would reduce the over-dependence on CRPF and other such forces.

The Government of India is also reviewing the issue of continuing with the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and its positive and negative aspects. However, sources said the Act would not be withdrawn abruptly, but the pros and cons of using it for years are being reviewed.

MHA sources further said that Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh would personally review the policies and the situation in the North East before formally announcing the new policy to deal with militancy in the region.

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New policy to tackle NE militancy soon

GUWAHATI, Sept 28 � The Government of India will soon come out with a new policy for dealing with militancy in the North Eastern region and the existing policy is being reviewed thoroughly. The Government is also examining the viability of continuing with the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.

Highly placed sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) told The Assam Tribune that the policy of talking with any militant group which expresses its desire for talks, may be amended. It is now being reviewed whether the talks are yielding the desired results as new outfits are cropping up every year in the North East and on most occasions, the splinter groups of the outfits under ceasefire agreement are creating major problems.

Giving some examples, sources said that after the Government started talks with the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB), a faction headed by Ranjan Daimary was involved in one of the worst ever killings in the State on October 30, 2008. When the NDFB (R) came for talks, the Songbijit faction of the outfit is creating trouble. Similarly, only one faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) came for talks, while the other faction is still waging a war against the nation. The signing of the ceasefire agreement with the United People�s Democratic Solidarity (UPDS) did not bring peace to Karbi Anglong as new outfits cropped up. So far, the Government agreed to talk with any militant group which expressed its desire to do so, but the policy may be changed now.

However, sources admitted that the ongoing talks with the militant outfits would continue. But in this regard too, the Government is concerned over the slow progress and may decide to set deadlines to complete the process with every outfit.

The policy of accepting surrender of militants and their rehabilitation is also being reviewed and some changes are likely to be made in the policy. Sources said that as per a study, whenever a militant outfit comes overground, it shows highly inflated figures of number of their members, while persons who never had any record of being actively involved with militancy have also �surrendered� to take different benefits offered by the Government.

The third major issue under review is the over-dependence of the states on Central forces to deal with militancy. The Centre is of the view that the State Governments of the North East are depending too much on the Central forces despite funds provided by the Centre for modernisation of the police forces and there is a need for the police to play a more pro-active role. Sources pointed out that sometimes shortage of Central forces creates problems as the states keep asking for more forces and only strengthening of the state police forces would reduce the over-dependence on CRPF and other such forces.

The Government of India is also reviewing the issue of continuing with the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and its positive and negative aspects. However, sources said the Act would not be withdrawn abruptly, but the pros and cons of using it for years are being reviewed.

MHA sources further said that Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh would personally review the policies and the situation in the North East before formally announcing the new policy to deal with militancy in the region.