‘Spillover militants’ keeps Arunachal Pradesh troubled

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Guwahati, May 23: Amid army’s operation against the killers of an MLA and 10 others, security oicials in Arunachal Pradesh on Wednesday blamed “spillover militants” for 22% increase in militancy-related incidents since 2016 in the frontier state.
According to officials, Arunachal saw an increase in militancy-related incidents even as there is no terrorist group based in the state.
Citing a recent report of the ministry of home affairs, an official said at least three districts – Tirap, Changlang, and Londing bordering Myanmar – continue to remain a militancy hotbed as the area is frequented by cadre of NSCN (several factions) of Nagaland and Ulfa (Independent) and NDFB (S) of Assam as a transit route to reach their hideouts in neighboring Myanmar. “These militants carry out subversive activities like extortion, abduction, and killings and flee to their camps. Such spillover activities have kept the state troubled, particularly in the bordering areas,” said an official.
Tirong Aboh, an MLA of National People’s Party (NPP), his son and nine others were gunned down on Tuesday in Tirap district. The NPP is an ally of the BJP-led government in the state. Although the NSCN (IM) was suspected to be behind the attack, security officials on Wednesday said they were yet to confirm the involvement of the Naga outfit, which is in ceasefire with the Centre since 1997.
The incident not only raised questions about security in the state but also raised concerns over the growing militancy-related incidents in the state.
The annual report of the MHA 2017-18 said 61 insurgency-related incidents took place in 2017, in which nine insurgents (NSCN/K-6, NSCN/R-2, NSCN/NK-1) were killed and 44 insurgents arrested.
“There were 27 cases of extortions and kidnappings in the state,” said the report.
NSCN (Khaplang) cadre had attacked an Assam Rifles convoy in December 2016 in Longding district, about 15-km from Myanmar border, in which one jawan had died and eight others were injured.
The MHA statistics have worried the security officials at a time the entire Northeast region saw an over 36% decrease in the insurgency-related incidents – from 484 in 2016 to 308 in 2017. “2017 witnessed the lowest number of insurgency incidents in the region since 1997. Similarly, security forces casualties in the region also declined from 17 in 2016 to 12 in 2017 and civilian casualties dropped from 48 in 2016 to 37 in 2017. Counter-insurgency operations led to the neutralization of 57 militants, arrest of 995 militants and recovery of 432 weapons in 2017,” said the report.
The Northeast share 5,484km of the international border of which a stretch of 520km is in Arunachal Pradesh, with Myanmar, China, and Bhutan. (Courtesy: DH)