An uneasy calm


Sunday, July 31st, 2011


Suspected militants from National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) Reuters photo.

 

Shamsuddin Ahmed

 

An uneasy calm prevails in north-east India where leaders of secessionist groups have converged at a safe place along the Myanmar border under the aegis of their external friends. Intelligence reports leaked to the daily Assam Tribune gave an alarming prospect. More than 30 outfits of north-east states, fighting isolated war in vain for decades for independence from India, have agreed to forge unity. The outfits have been asked to unite since their purpose is common, and assured of covert support and assistance. They were also told that no individual group will receive any support. The insurgent leaders have reached an understanding to put up a common fight to achieve their goal.

 

In the event of escalating trouble across the border, security of Bangladesh may be in danger. Rising insurgency on the east will certainly prompt vigorous military action. Indian army is already deployed in most parts of the north-east states. In the event, militants crossing the porous border at times cannot be ruled out. A report from Agartala on July 24 said guerrillas of National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) kidnapped 8 villagers suspecting them as police informers. Haunted by the security forces the militants have allegedly sneaked into Bangladesh for safety. Soon BSF convened a flag meeting with BGB. They pressed for action to nab NLFT rebels and rescue the villagers.

 

Apparently intelligence fed, a report on July 20 said ‘China-Myanmar ties are boon to NE militancy’. It squarely blamed the eastern and southern neighbours of India for harbouring the secessionist groups. They have assured covert support if all the groups are united. ULFA army chief Paresh Baruah in association with other outfits of Manipur and Nagaland has planned violence in Assam. If all the groups come together and they start receiving external help, the region may face serious problem in the days to come. The Maoists have already signed an agreement with ULFA of Assam and PLA of Manipur and if they join hands with the other rebel groups, the possibility of the situation deteriorating fast cannot be ruled out.

 
The Assam government on July 23 sounded a maximum alert following the intelligence report that anti-talks faction of ULFA led by Paresh Baruah has plans for massive strike on security forces, crowded places or even jails. The militants were smuggling weapons and explosives into towns and cities for carrying out attacks.

 

Meanwhile, the Maoists have called for a weeklong strike in mineral-rich Bastar region of India’s central state Chhattisgarh from July 28 to protest deployment of army and offensive against them. Bastar region comprises four districts with 40,000 square kilometres, which the security forces marked as liberated zone of the Maoists. Some 10,000 troops were deployed in the state, ostensibly for training in jungle war with permission to fire back if attacked by the Maoists. Banners and leaflets cautioned against movement of vehicular traffic in the area during the shutdown. Similar shutdown was enforced early this month. It might be a cunning step of the Maoists to consolidate their stronghold by amassing more weapons and planting mines in the way of the government security forces in the face of deployment of army and drones.

 

On the south bordering communist ruled-Nepal, Maoists have expanded their influence. Security intelligence has earmarked Kaimur of Bihar, bordering the adjacent state of Uttar Pradesh. Chinese National Security chief Zhou Yongkang comes next month to Kathmandu on the heels of another Chinese leader who had proposed for friendship and security treaty with Nepal. Zhou is supposed to discuss matters of perceived Indo-US design to create trouble through Nepal. Beijing has of late pumped assistance in millions and offered any support landlocked Nepal needs.

 

The recent visit of Tibet religious leader Dalai Lama to Washington and meeting with Barak Obama, added to Hillary Clinton’s statement during her visit to India propping up New Delhi, and assigning them the leadership of the region, have not gone down well in Beijing. Growing Indo-US clout has obviously raised apprehension that the axis is pushing its plan to destabilise Tibet. The covert Chinese support to the secessionist groups of India as claimed by Assam intelligence agencies may be an attempt to desist the Indo-US destabilising plan in Tibet.

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