Sinlung /
30 June 2011

Arunachal Pradesh Becoming Safe Haven For Militants

By Anurag K

naga_militants

Guwahati, Jun 30
: Arunachal Pradesh, which shares its eastern boundary with the troubled region of Myanmar, and has a large number of insurgents, has become a favourite transit route and operation base for several militant outfits from neighbouring Nagaland and Assam.

Besides the lack of coordination among state police forces of Assam, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh, the rugged and thickly forested terrain of the state has made it favourable for insurgents to escape the heat of sustained counter-insurgency operations in Assam and Nagaland.

Security sources said Arunachal Pradesh's eastern districts of Tirap and Changlang bordering Myanmar have become a hotbed of insurgents of late.

The area is infested with factions of the Naga rebels – National Socialist Council of Nagaland - Khaplang and National Socialist Council of Nagaland - Isak-Muivah – besides anti-talks faction of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland and United Liberation Front of Assam. The NDFB, in fact, has infiltrated the forested area in Arunachal Pradeah bordering North Assam.

The Naga rebel groups are notorious for their extortion operations in Arunachal districts besides engaging in the occasional turf war between them for control over not territory. Arunachal Pradesh does not have sufficient manpower as well as equipment to put up a strong challenge before rebel groups armed to the teeth with sophisticated weapons.
The NSCN rebels are constantly trying to expand their area of operation to other parts of the sparsely populated hill state.

The twin districts of Tirap and Changlang have become one of the few remaining strongholds of the anti-talks faction of the ULFA. The outfits, besides remote controlling its operations in eastern Assam's industrial belt, use the area as transit route to its Myanmar base.

The anti-talk faction of National Democratic Front of Bodoland is very active in districts of West Kameng, East Kameng, Papum Pare, West Siang and East Siang which share boundary with Assam.

All these insurgent groups of the neighbouring states have hatched a design to promote small local insurgent groups within Arunachal Pradesh during the last few years for their advantage. There have been reports that one of those small outfits, Arunachal Naga Liberation Front, recently merged with the NSCN-K.

However, the small Arunachalee outfits hardly pose as much a threat as the bigger outfits from the neighbouring states. The sparsely populated and thickly forested steep hills of Arunachal Pradesh have provided a natural shield to these outfits against security forces.

These outfits resort to rampant extortions in areas close to inter-state boundary with Assam and Nagaland. Politicians and government officials too face the threat of extortion in those areas.

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