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115 designated NE terror groups high on IB radar

August 24, 2012 16:37 IST

Following the riots in Assam and the mass exodus of northeast people from southern states, the state is high on the Intelligence Bureau's radar. This is also true for every other state in the northeast which has 115 known terrorist organisations. Vicky Nanjappa reports.

Out of the 115 terrorist organisations, there are many who have been fighting for a 'homeland', while there are many more who have been fuelling the fire from across the borders.

Intelligence Bureau officials point out that they suspect that terrorist groups from Bangladesh funded by the Pakistan establishment are looking to strike.

The intelligence that has been received so far is not pertaining to terror strikes. It clearly states that the infiltration which had come down a great deal is likely to go up and many outfits which were formed at the behest of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence will be strengthened with the help of the local population who claim to be affected by the recent turn of events.

The IB and the police are however not tracking only those groups which enjoy patronage from outside. "We are also keeping a close watch on some groups within and do not want peace to be disturbed, as this will lead to more disturbances funded from across the border," said an official.

Assam, which has the epicentre of this trouble has 36 designated terrorist outfits which have been banned by the government. The United Liberation Front of Asom, the Bodo Liberation Tiger Force, the Bengali Tiger Force, Muslim United Liberation Tigers of Assam, United Liberation Front of Barak Valley, Muslim United Liberation Front of Assam, Muslim Security Council of Assam, Islamic Liberation Army of Assam, Muslim Volunteer Force, Muslim Liberation Army, Muslim Security Force, Islamic Sevak Sangh, Islamic United Reformation Protest of India, United Muslim Liberation Front of Assam, Revolutionary Muslim Commandos, Muslim Tiger Force, Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and Harkat-ul-Jehad are the main groups.

In Manipur there are 39 designated terrorist outfits. The watch is high on the United National Liberation Front, Kangleipak Communist Party, the Manipur Liberation Tiger Army, the Islamic National Front and the Islamic Revolutionary Front.

United Islamic Liberation Army, United Islamic Revolutionary Army and Chin Kuki Revolutionary Front in Meghalaya there are four outfits; while in Nagaland, there are three. In Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh there are two and one such outfits respectively.

In Tripura, there are 30 designated terrorist groups of which the watch is high on the National Liberation Front of Tripura, the United Bengali Liberation Front and the Tripura Defence Force. The watch at Tripura is also at an all-time high and the police have warned that separatist groups are trying to revive themselves ahead of the assembly elections.

The problem outfit at Tripura is however the NLFT which has found to be recruiting forces in the recent past. They have a force of around 150 members.

IB officials say that the task in northeast is extremely tough. "While the respective state governments are dealing with separatist groups, the bigger worry for the central agencies are the outfits which are under the control of Bangladesh and Pakistan based groups," said an official.

Security agencies say there is going to be a sea change in the manner in which these groups would operate. Earlier, some separatist groups had taken the support of Islamic groups from across the border.

However the violence in Assam has ensured that there is a clear divide between these groups. Groups such as the MULTA and MSCA in Assam will be looking to take advantage of the situation and will make this issue that commenced as an ethnic clash into a communal issue.

This divide would however help Indian agencies to a certain extent as the separatist groups which have been fighting against the Indian administration could support the Indian cause as there is an expected aggression from outside the country.

While security forces continue to patrol many parts of the northeastern states, they are also looking to see if the infiltration would go up. The infiltration into Assam had come down a great deal and these people had shifted to West Bengal.

However, with the recent spate of violence, Bangladesh-based terror groups such as the Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami and others would look to push in more people in order to create a greater support base and also fuel violence on communal lines.

During investigations, it was found that many of the migrants had valid documents on them. On one hand there is a claim that they are illegal migrants but on the other many have been found with valid papers on them. The police suspect that it could have been done to enhance the vote bank.

However, most of these documents are fake and has not been approved by the government. Regardless, these migrants have often cast their votes.

It is a well-established network which is operating under political patronage, some officers point out.

"These people who keep migrating into Assam illegally do so with the help of touts and some hidden terrorist groups in Bangladesh. There is a process that they follow and each one comes in with a document which appears to be valid. They continue to live on as migrants for sometime, and then they are issued with documents which give them a legal status to vote," an official points out.

This problem has been found in West Bengal and Bihar. In both these states, it was seen how the HuJI and the Indian Mujahideen managed to create a network among these illegal migrants.

"They set up camps there offering rehabilitation and used them as foot soldiers. The same has been happening in Assam as well, and we fear that it could be on a large scale and hence it is very important that this issue is taken very seriously," the official adds.
Vicky Nanjappa