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Terror focus in Assam and Bangla border
Published on 21 Jan. 2009 12:55 AM IST
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Even as the Assam police and CRPF personnel Tuesday jointly launched operations against militants in three upper Assam districts following information of militant activities there, the BSF also decided to raise 29 more battalions guards to man the country’s border with Pakistan and Bangladesh to check cross-border terrorism and infiltration of illegal migrants. In the run up to the Republic Day, altogether 138 companies of CRPF were deployed in the three adjoining districts-- Lakhimpur, Jorhat and Golaghat-- for the operations against the ultras that included HuJI, ULFA and NDFB. The operations were intensified at Majuli Ahotguri Sapori, Kheroni Sapori, Kungbung and Lohit Khabola areas spread out in those three districts, the sources said. Security men were also looking for ULFA leaders Darika Saikia and `sergeant major’ Raju Das hiding in the area. India has decided to raise 29 battalions comprising 29,000 personnel of frontier guards to man the country’s border with Pakistan and Bangladesh to check cross-border terrorism and infiltration of illegal migrants, officials Tuesday said. “The central government has sanctioned 29 more Border Security Force (BSF) battalions and we hope to raise them soon and deploy them in the border areas. About 12 battalions would be deployed in the northeastern region, while the others would be kept for internal security duties,” BSF Director General M.L. Kumawat told journalists here. He said India was prepared to meet any challenges on the western frontiers with border guards on a state of high alert. “We are ready for any eventualities with our troopers on maximum vigil,” Kumawat said. He said terror operators from Pakistan were now using the unfenced border that India shares with Nepal and Myanmar to enter India. “With the India-Bangladesh border now almost fenced and patrolling intensified, Pakistan’s ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) was unable to penetrate it and hence the border with Nepal and Myanmar has become more vulnerable,” the BSF chief pointed out. Kumawat said there were 110 camps of northeastern Indian separatist groups in Bangladesh. “We are aware of camps in Bangladesh and we hope Dhaka would support us in evicting those rebels from their soil,” the BSF chief said. Quoting intelligence reports, Kumawat said nearly 1.3 million Bangladeshi nationals have not returned to their country from India from 1972 to 2008. “Infiltration has come down considerably due to stepped up vigil and border fencing,” the BSF official said. The Director General also said the BSF was fully prepared to face any challenge in the frontiers with Pakistan and Bangladesh though the problems on the two sides were different. ‘’There was movement from the Pakistan side during the last two months and we are prepared to face any challenges on that side as per our mandate. I have travelled the Indo-Pak border in view of the recent developments there and we are fully prepared’’, he told reporters here. BSF, he said, has done a commendable job of border management and faced the challenges of controlling illegal immigration and movement of insurgents with explosives in the Indo-Bangladesh border. ‘’The level of infiltration has come down to a great extent. There is physical obstruction due to fencing,’’ he said. India’s 409 km-long border with Pakistan has been sealed and 80 per cent flood lighting completed but the 3070 km-long frontier with Bangladesh was comparatively more complicated with 1100 km of riverine area, forests and enclaves with people of similar religion and ethnicity on both sides of the boundary. In Assam, 197 km of the 263 km border fencing has been completed and work on the rest of the area is on a priority basis, Kumawat said.

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