Army demands tougher laws to tackle insurgency

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Tezpur, May 28 (UNI) The Army has demanded more stringent legal provisions to tackle terrorism in the North-East as well as the whole country.

Addressing a press conference here today at Tezpur, GOC 4 Corps Lt Gen B S Jaswal, who heads the counter-insurgency operations in Assam, stressed the need of more stringent legal provisions to keep the hardcore terrorists, apprehended by the security forces, behind the bars for a longer period.

Regretting that counter-insurgency operations of the security forces in Assam were badly hit by the return of the apprehended terrorists to their organisations, Lt Gen Jaswal said, ''I have already taken up the matter with the apex body. We are also preparing a list of such instances when hardcore terrorists came out of jail and rejoined their outfit.'' About the legal provisions, he clarified, ''What we desire is that certain laws should be enacted so that the apprehended militants are not released from jail so easily.

''We have come across some of the specific cases when a terrorist was arrested and grenades seized from his possession and he was handed over to police in Sibsagar district by the Army. But after sometime, we caught the same militant, again with grenades, at different place. On verification it was found that the person had come out on bail.'' He said if the insurgents were kept behind the bars for a long, it would demotivate them, snap their links with mentors, besides making them ineffective.

Meanwhile, the Army today said they would from now onwards target the ULFA leadership more than the cadres.

Lt Gen Jaswal said 60 per cent of the ULFA leadership had either perished or surrendered in recent times.

''We are now targetting the remaining 40 per cent of the leadership. They are in various stages of surrendering and are in touch with us,'' he said.

He cited the example of major surrenders, including Keshab Hazarika and Pradeep Bora, as well as the mysterious arrest of top leader Prabal Neog, which was allegedly a carefully crafted surrender in the guise of arrest.

He further informed that since January 2007, altogether 2,887 terrorists of various organisations had been neutralised while in the present year since January, altogether 857 terrorists were eliminated.

''There has been growth of numerous smaller militant groups, including the Birsa Commando forces and Musilm Union Liberation Tigers (MULTA), as well as other little-known groups. However, we are continuously keeping them under check and hence they are not being noticed much by the public eye,'' he said.

He acknowledged the support of the common public, saying that for hard intelligence the Army no longer had to depend on professional sources.

''Now villagers and ordinary people themselves come and inform us about the militant movements. This is the big change,'' he said.

Each of the ULFA battalions spent around Rs 5.5 crore per year on training, arms procuring, logistics as well as compensation, besides buying luxurious and extravagant gadgets often found in the busted camps and hideouts.

The money for the purpose is extorted from common man by the ULFA sympathisers.

Speaking on the border issue with China, he claimed that there was no aggression from the Chinese side in the Arunachal sector in recent times.

UNI MT DPM RC BD1935

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