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Assam: Counter-insurgency unified command to stay

K Anurag in Guwahati | September 27, 2008 18:16 IST

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With the terror threat still persisting, the Assam government has ruled out any possibility of disbanding the three-tier Unified Command structure spearheaded in their field by the Indian Army [Images] that is assisted by the Assam police and paramilitary force personnel.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Saturday said the Unified Command would stay in operation in the state "given that terror threat still persisted in the state."

He said the state government was not heeding to the recommendation of the Justice (retd) K N Saikia Commission, which inquired into certain cases of secret (extra judicial) killings of kin of United Liberation Front of Asom members in the state during 1998-2001, to disband the Unified Command.

"The Unified Command structure will continue till it remains a necessity for the state to ward off threat from insurgents. There is no question of dismantling it till the law and order situation improves to satisfactory levels," Gogoi said.

He observed that the state having a border with Bangladesh and other foreign countries stood vulnerable to acts of terror sponsored from across the border.

He, however, conceded that terror threat now persisted throughout the country.

The Unified Command, which was enforced in the state way back in 1997, is reviewed after every six months by the strategy group headed by the chief minister before extension for another six months.

The chief minister of the state is in overall charge of the unified command, while the GOC 4 Corps of the Indian Army is the operational head of the command that has the state police and Central paramilitary forces as the two other components.

Gogoi lauded the Unified Command for doing a commendable job in containing insurgency in the state notwithstanding often repeated allegations by human rights groups and different social groups that the security personnel in the state were given free run of the state in the name of counter-insurgency operation under the Unified Command.

He also laid stress on the need for modernisation of the police and improvement of intelligence gathering mechanism for tackling the insurgents more effectively.

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