M A I N   N E W S

Patil for unified action in N-E
Manjula Bhattacharyya

Guwahati, October 3
The Union Home Minister, Mr Shivraj Patil, has accepted the proposal by Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi favouring unified action in the militancy-hit states of the North-East.

Mr Gogoi mooted this proposal during his meeting with Mr Shivraj Patil at the Guwahati airport today. Mr Patil made a brief stopover in Guwahati en-route Nagaland, to survey the law and order situation there after twin bomb blasts claimed 36 lives yesterday.

Mr Patil said:” I have accepted the proposal by Mr Tarun Gogoi for unified action to tackle militancy in the North-East. I would discuss this matter with the Prime Minister after returning to Delhi”.

According to Mr Gogoi, Assam has now become more vulnerable to insurgency-related activities after the recent Bhutan operation to destroy the camps of militants there. “After the Bhutan operation, militants have set up new camps in Arunachal, Meghalaya and Nagaland, besides their camps in Myanmar and Bangladesh, thus exposing Assam to more insurgency related activities”, claimed Mr Gogoi.

Senior police officials of Assam, including Mr V. Sumanth, DGP, were also present during the meeting with Mr Patil.

Mr Patil expressed concern over the massacre of 18 persons by suspected NDFB militants at Dhubri in upper Assam on Friday evening, and the series of bomb blasts at five places of both lower and upper Assam.

It is worth mentioning here that while moderate Bodoland activists are happy with the formation of the Bodo Territorial Council (BTC), NDFB hardliners are in favour of a sovereign Bodoland.

Meanwhile, three persons were killed and 22 injured in five blasts in both lower and upper Assam today. All these acts, said DGP V. Sumanth, were sponsored by suspected NDFB militants.

Meanwhile, ULFA has rejected Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi’s conditional ceasefire offer but said it would consider a proposal of talks with the Centre only if it came out with a “written commitment to discuss the sovereignty issue”.

A caller, claiming himself to be as ULFA Commander-in-Chief Paresh Barua, told some local dailies over the telephone last night that Mr Gogoi was just the head of a “puppet government put into place by the Centre and he had no authority to present an offer of ceasefire”.

“Any ceasefire offer with a written assurance of a discussion on sovereignty must have to come from the Union Government. After getting such a gesture from the Centre, ULFA might consider the offer to come to the negotiation table, Mr Barua said.

He further said it was the Centre’s sole responsibility to ensure a congenial atmosphere for talks by declaring an unilateral ceasefire. — PTI 


Counter insurgency operation likely in Manipur

Imphal, October 3
A counter-insurgency operation by the Army, paramilitary forces and the police would soon be launched in three districts of Manipur in the wake of stepped up militancy in those areas, official sources said today.

The operation would be simultaneously launched in the three districts of Churachandpur, Chandel and Bishenpur, the sources said.

They, however, refused to divulge the exact time and date of the operation.

The operation would be carried out under the overall supervision of the Unified Command formed recently with Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh as its chairman.

Police, paramilitary forces and Army personnel would be used in the counter insurgency operation during which all exit points at the Indo-Myanmar border and Manipur-Mizoram border would be blocked, the sources said.

In the escalated militants’ violence, the latest was a series of attacks on CRPF posts at three places on Friday last in which a CRPF jawan had been killed and 15 injured by insurgents in Churachandpur district, the sources said.

The state government had requested the Centre for more forces for the proposed operation following which additional central forces were likely to arrive, the sources said.

A security brigade has already been deployed in Churachandpur district bordering Mizoram and Cachar district of Assam, the sources said. — PTI


Left asks Centre to take N-E govts into confidence
Tribune News Service

New Delhi October 3
The Left parties today asked the Centre to take fresh political initiatives by taking the state governments of North-East into confidence to restore normalcy in the entire region.

The Centre should immediately hold meetings with the states and the others concerned in the region to work out a strategy to combat the outbursts of violence, the CPM said in a statement.

The Left parties said Home Minister Shivraj Patil, who is currently on a whirlwind tour of Assam and Nagaland, should take all state governments into confidence on devising a “suitable strategy to contain insurgency in the region.”

The manner in which the bombs were placed at the Railway station and the Dimapur market showed that the militants wanted to disrupt the peaceful atmosphere in the state, the CPI(M) said here reacting to the attacks in Nagaland and Assam.

It said the state governments concerned and the Centre should spare no effort to identify the culprits and apprehend them.

The growing trend of extremist groups resorting to indiscriminate violence in Assam must be countered by firm action and popular mobilisation to isolate them, the Left party said in a statement.

CPI National Secretary D. Raja said Mr Patil should immediately hold meetings with the authorities concerned so that peace and normalcy was restored in the entire North-East.

“The Home Minister should take all authorities concerned into confidence to evolve a strategy to contain the growing tendency of terrorism and insurgency,” he added.

In yesterday’s militant attack in the region, at least 60 persons were killed and 125 injured.

One person was killed and at least 16 injured in separate incidents in Assam today, even as Home Minister arrived here this morning for an on-the-spot study of the situation following yesterday’s terrorist attacks.

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