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Insurgents in Assam brought on their knees during 2011

December 23, 2011 00:21 IST

Sustained operations by security forces, fast dwindling base among the masses and cooperation from the present regime in Bangladesh in evicting insurgent leaders from their soil during the year have brought many insurgent outfits of Assam down on their knees.

Insurgency has been by and large under control in Assam, especially in the wake of the ongoing peace process with a majority faction of United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) led by its chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa. Most of the pro-talks ULFA leaders had been arrested in Bangladesh last year and have been handed over to the government of India, thanks to the latter's efforts in persuading Sheikh Hasina to launch a crackdown on militant leaders from the North East India taking shelter in Bangladesh.

Once they were held in captivity, the Indian government's peace interlocutor and former IB chief, P C Haldar succeeded in persuading ULFA leaders to agree for dialogue without much effort. A civil society peace group called Sanmilita Jatiya Abhibartan also played a role to make the government and the ULFA leaders agree to negotiation considering the popular wishes of the peace-loving common people of Assam.

For the purpose of peace talks, the ULFA leaders were released from jail on bail beginning with the release of its 'chairman' Arabinda Rajkhowa on the first day of 2010.

The ULFA leaders were then flown to New Delhi in February to meet Indian leaders including the prime minister and the Union home minister to set the stage of future negotiation that started later in the year.

It was a major boost to counter-insurgency efforts in the state when Karbi tribe militant group called United People's Democratic Solidarity gave up the path of violence by all its 568 cadres surrendering their weapons earlier this month leading to its disbanding. It was the fruit of a decade-old peace process with the outfit that was the main cause of trouble in Assam's hill areas.

The year also saw the beginning of a formal peace process with a faction of the outlawed National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) by the government of India while the former IB chief Haldar has been put on the job to start negotiation with the other faction of the outfit led by Ranjan Daimary, who was also arrested in Bangladesh and handed over to Assam police last year.

Meanwhile, peace negotiations are on course with both the faction of Dimasa tribe insurgent group Dima Halam Daogah (DHD) even as several Adivasi militant groups are waiting their turn for peace talks after calling truce.

However, there is still cause for worry with the anti-talks faction of the ULFA led by fugitive 'commander-in-chief' Paresh Barua trying to create disturbance in the state. There have been reports about Maoists elements trying to strike roots in the state. 

K Anurag in Guwahati