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Seal-off Indo-Bangladesh border: Tripura CM

May 18, 2008 18:13 IST

Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar has asked the Centre to seal off the porous Indo-Bangla border to prevent infiltration by militants from Bangladesh.

More than 100 camps of North East-based militants, including the United Liberation Front of Asom, National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Issac-Muivah) among others are operating within Bangladesh.

''The decade-old insurgency problem in Tripura and North East as a whole could be sorted only if our areas with Bangladesh are fenced,'' Sarkar told a team of visiting journalists at Agartala.

Not only fencing, the chief minister said, but the government needs to augment the security in the border.

India shares a 4,095 km-long border with Bangladesh, including the longest in West Bengal at 2,216-km, part of which is porous, riverine and unfenced, and prone to frequent infiltration and skirmishes.

''Our misguided youths are being trained as militants inside Bangladesh with the help of the Inter Services Intelligence and the Central Investigative Agency,'' Sarkar claimed, adding that these two external intelligence agencies have been working against sovereign India, especially in the North East, long before India liberated Bangladesh from East Pakistan.

''It's no more a secret and everyone knows about the working relationship of the Pakistani and American intelligence wings,'' the former student leader-turned chief minister said.

Asked about a possible dialogue with the militant groups operating in his state, Sarkar said that his government was open for talks with the proscribed National Liberation Front of Tripura and All Tripura Tiger Force.

Both the banned militant outfits - the National Liberation Front of Tripura and All Tripura Tiger Force -- are fighting for an independent Tripura, with their operational base inside Bangladesh.

''We are ever ready for a peaceful dialogue. We have told them (militants) that the state government will not object for direct talks with New Delhi,'' Sarkar said.

However, Sarkar, the longest serving Chief Minister of Tripura, claimed that the insurgency problem in his state was on the decline, with several NLFT and ATTF cadres eschewing the path of violence.

''We have developed a holistic approach to this problem (insurgency). We have provided development in practical term and 50 per cent of the government funds are meant for development,'' he said.