GUWAHATI, JANUARY 28: With the movement against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 gaining momentum, the activities of the United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) is also on the rise, particularly in the areas bordering Arunachal Pradesh. Security agencies are of the view that there is need for rapid infrastructure development along the international border with Myanmar to deal with the activities of the militants.
Highly placed security sources admitted before The Assam Tribune that though the exact number of youths who joined the ULFA(I) after the movement against the Citizenship Bill is yet to be ascertained, it is a fact that the recruitment by the militant outfit has increased in recent times. It may be mentioned here that the ULFA (I) commander-in-chief, Paresh Baruah himself admitted that the Central Government’s move to impose the Bill against the wishes of the people of Assam led to frustration among the youths.
Security sources said, “it is difficult to ascertain the exact number of youths who have joined the ULFA (I) in recent times, but it is a fact that the number has increased in comparison to last year.” The activities of the militant outfit have also increased along the inter-state border areas, which is a matter of concern, particularly with the Republic Day approaching. There have been reports of the militants stepping up extortion drive and there have also been incidents of kidnappings for money. In most cases, the militants are demanding money over phone or through WhatsApp calls and they are using the middlemen or sympathizers to collect the money. Very rarely, the militant group is engaging its own cadres to come inside Assam to collect money.
With the Republic Day approaching, the possibility of the militant group indulging in violence to make its presence felt cannot be ruled out and that is why, police and security forces have been kept on maximum alert to thwart any such move. Efforts are also on to increase coordination between the police forces of the bordering districts of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland to track the movement of the militants.
But at the same time, sources expressed the view that there is need for expediting infrastructure development along the international border with Myanmar. Though the Assam Rifles has been entrusted with the responsibility of guarding the border, most of the camps of the force are located well inside Indian territory and not on the border, which gives an advantage to the militants to sneak through. The camps of the Assam Rifles cannot be created right on the zero line because of lack of infrastructure and the militants are taking advantage of the situation. Moreover, because of the terrain, it is not possible to guard every inch of the border, sources admitted. (Courtesy: AT)