'Relentless operations' to cont in Assam; 33 militants surrender

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Tamulpur(Assam), Oct 23 (UNI) Even as 33 ULFA and Karbi militants surrendered at the Tamulpur Army base today, Gajraj Corps GoC Lt Gen B S Jaswal asserted that Army operations would continue relentlessly until normalcy was restored.

Altogether, 31 ULFA militants, including two women cadres, of the 109, 709 and 27 battalions of the outfit and two militants of a Karbi outfit KLNLF laid down their arms in the presence of the Army, police and state government authorities.

Besides Lt Gen Jaswal, Assam DGP R N Mathur, Principal Secretary (Home) B L Das, IGP (Intelligence) Khagen Sharma, GOC Red Horn Division Gyan Bhusan were also present at the surrender ceremony, stated to be the biggest in the last three years.

The militants were led by 'senior second lieutenant' Nagen Rabha and 'sergeant major' Bhavesh Patgiri. They also deposited arms and ammunition, including one AK 47, one AK 56, one muzzle loaded gun, 10 pistols, five grenades, five revolvers, magazines, detonators, explosives and a radio set.

Talking to reporters after the surrender ceremony, Lt Gen Jaswal said the growing discontentment in the militant ranks, coupled with the security forces persuasive methods, have led to the return of many militants to the mainstream in recent times.

He added that the ULFA had received major blows in the recent past with the arrest and surrender of many of its top rank leaders.

The Gajraj Corps GoC also underlined the rehabilitation facilities, including training, stipend and other facilities that would be provided to the surrendered militants.

The Rehabilitation Training Centre was also inaugurated at the venue today.

Reacting to media reports that the Army was against any dialogue with the militants, Lt Gen Jaswal said, '' We are not against the peace process. My comments urging the militants to return to the mainstream had been distorted as a threat.'' He said political resolution had to be ensured by thegovernment and the Army has no part in it. '' Insurgency is not fought militarily,'' he said.

He, however, reiterated that the Army would continue with 'relentless operations' till normalcy was restored.

To a question, Lt Gen Jaswal said militant outfits of the North east did not have camps in neighbouring countries, but the matter had to be handled by the External Affairs Ministry and not the Army on ground.

UNI

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