Spurt in militancy! 234 ultras in Assam jails
H A Eklavya | 03 Apr 2008

Spurt in militancy! 234 ultras in Assam jails


'Only 114 km of the 272 km International Border sealed'


3 APRIL, 2008

There seems to be no respite from the militancy in the northeastern states of the country like Assam, which now has been badly hit due to terrorism being propagated from across the border.  

In a sensational revelations made by the Government of Assam that as many as 234 militants belonging to various Islamic groups are currently lodged in different jails of the state.

These militants include as many as 150 belonging to the Muslim United Liberation Tigers of Assam (MULTA), 50 to the Harkat-ul-Muzahideen (HuM) and 7 ISI operatives. The ISI operatives, the Government said, include at least two, who are citizens of Pakistan and admitted during interrogation that they had sneaked into Assam from Bangladesh border. Besides, 5 of those currently in jail are also from Bangladesh.

Rockybul Hussain, Minister for Forests & Environment, Assam Government told the Assembly on behalf of Chief Minister, Tarun Gogoi, who also holds the Home portfolio, clarified, "These militants have been arrested over a period of 7 to 8 years and several of them were involved in cases of sabotage and treason."

He informed that there is strong evidence that a number of these militants had been to Pakistan and Bangladesh and undergone training in arms and ammunition.

"The government also has information that these groups recruit young boys from the districts of Dhubri, Barpeta, Bongaigaon, Karimganj, Cachar, Hailakandi, Nalbari, Nagaon and Darrang and send them out for training in Bangladesh and Pakistan," Hussain disclosed. He admitted that Hussain admitted that the SIMI too was active in Assam, but no member of the group had been arrested so far in the state.

"While the government had banned SIMI in 2001, there is information that the group is still active in Assam," the Minister added. 

This information given by the government was in response to the accusation of Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh by the All Assam Students Union (AASU) that he is adopting a lackadaisical attitude towards the influx of militants in the state.

Moreover, the AASU has also sought resignation of Minister Bhumidhar Barman for allegedly failing to do justice to his portfolio.

Sankar Prasad Rai, president of the Union said, "The government is not interested in keeping its commitment and the Assam Accord implementation minister should resign in acceptance of his failure, as the deadline for completion of the border fencing project has already ended."

He lamented that only 114 km of the 272 km international border in Assam had been sealed so far reflected the inefficiency of the government, as the target to complete the sealing of the border was 2006 and the deadline was further revised to March 31, 2008.

It is important to mention here that the Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Bharat Chandra Narah while speaking in the Assembly said, "The Union Government had reviewed the construction work of barbed wire fencing on Indo-Bangla border completed under Phase-I. However, it is yet to ask the Assam Government to re-construct the work."

The length of the fencing taken up during Phase-II in Assam Sector by Assam PWD is 32.665 km, while the National Building Corporation Ltd (NBCC) has taken up 44.90 km under this phase, said the Minister, adding, of the stretch allotted to Assam PWD of the Indo-Bangladesh border, 85 percent has been covered by barbed wire fencing as on January 1, 2008.