GUWAHATI, July 11 - Asserting that the ongoing peace parleys with several militant outfits of the North-east were on the right track, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh today sounded a warning to those indulging in criminal activities � especially the splinter groups � that the Centre would continue with its zero-tolerance policy on insurgency and terrorism.
�Incidents of kidnapping for ransom by small violent insurgent groups have almost doubled in Assam and Meghalaya. The Central government would not talk to such criminal elements and they would be dealt with firmly,� Singh said at a press conference following his meeting with the chief ministers of the north-eastern states at the Administrative Staff College.
Singh added that the chief ministers of the North-east should set up special investigation cells to tackle cases of extortion and kidnapping for ransom, as insurgency had adversely impacted the criminal justice system, with a spurt in �low-visibility yet high-impact crimes� that undermined the common man�s access to justice.
Singh, however, evaded a question on setting time-frames for the ongoing peace dialogues, saying that the talks would be brought to their logical conclusion soon.
Singh also made it clear that there was no proposal for any review of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, which was in place in several north-eastern states.
Terming the overall insurgency level in the North-east as �all-time low�, Singh said that Mizorm, Tripura, and large parts of Assam, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh were free from insurgency, and that there was a �strong popular desire for peace in Nagaland and Manipur too.�
Voicing concern over the easy availability of illegal firearms in the North-east, Singh said he had urged the chief ministers of the region to launch sustained drives against illegal weapons and make their states free of illegal arms.
The Home Minister also urged the chief ministers to have a realistic audit of deployment of Central armed police forces in their states in view of the visible improvement in the security scenario of the region.
On Islamic terrorism, Singh said that the country in general was facing such a threat and that it was prepared to meet the challenge.