GUWAHATI, Sept 11 - The massacre of more than 70 persons by militants belonging to the National Democratic Front of Boroland (Songbijit) on December 23 last year has become the turning point in the history of militancy in Assam. Sustained operations by the police and security forces since then virtually broke the backbone of the active militant groups, while the Government is not inclined to reduce the force level in the State in the near future.
Highly placed security sources told The Assam Tribune that the tough stand adopted by the Government of India against the militants involved in killing of innocents brought down the level of violence in the State. Though initially, the operation was aimed against the NDFB(S), which was involved in the massacre on December 23, the operations seriously affected the other militant groups active in the State. In the past, such operations launched after killings of innocents were not sustained for a long time, but because of the tough stand of the Government of India, the operations have been sustained and the force level on the ground has also not been reduced.
Sources said that under serious pressure, senior NDFB(S) leader G Bidai has sent feelers to the Government through a few non-government organisations expressing his desire to go for a ceasefire. But the Government is not willing to take the offer. �The Government�s stand on the issue is very clear. If Bidai and any other member of the outfit wants to surrender, they will be arrested and they will have to face the law. There will be no ceasefire with the outfit,� sources added.
On the operations against NDFB(S), the sources said that so far, around 30 hardcore militants have been killed, while more than 190 have been arrested. More than 250 sympathisers and overground workers of the outfit have also been arrested. Till May this year, Bidai, who allegedly masterminded the December 23 attack, was moving around with around 40 cadres and the strength of his group has dwindled to less than 10 now. They very often get into the Manas National Park to avoid arrest by the security forces.
Small groups of NDFB men are also located in Gossaigaon, Saralpara, Udalguri, Sonitpur, etc., but they are not in a position to come out of the jungles. Kidnapping for ransom was the main source of income of the NDFB(S), but the outfit could not abduct anyone since the operation was launched against the outfit last year.