Friday, December 26, 2008

2008 saw emergence of Islamic militancy in Assam

Sanjoy Ray / GUWAHATI

The year 2008 though witnessed lesser casualties of terrorist violence in the State compared to 2007, it, however, saw the emergence of Islamic militancy in the biggest way, even overpowering the impact of decade-old home-grown insurgency. More than 200 civilians have been killed in the State so far (Mid-December), besides 16 security personnel and about 130 terrorists taking the tally of casualties of insurgency to 369.

Of the 130 terrorists killed across the State, around ten were suspected HUJI activists, seven of them were killed in an encounter with the Army in the Dhubri district in September this year.

The month of October this year witnessed killing of around 90 civilians, eight security personnel and 18 insurgents. The month of April remained the most peaceful phase of the year with only 11 deaths taking place.

Last year, the total number of casualties of terrorist violence was around 437, which included 269 civilians.

As many as 29 blasts have rocked the State till mid-December this year, the October 30 serial blasts, which claimed around 90 lives being the biggest ever terrorist attack the region has ever witnessed.

The growing prominence of the outside players in the State came into the fore on October 30, when nine serial blasts ripped apart the State, including three in Guwahati.

Though investigations into the incident is yet to reach any logical conclusion, the preliminary investigation revealed that the perpetrator of the blasts was not the usual ULFA, but were orchestrated by powers, suspected to be the HUJI, from across the border, with Bodo militants providing logistic support.

“The State is facing a new kind of threat and the focus of law-enforcing has more or less shifted to cross-border terrorism than home-grown, with Islamic fundamentalist groups, operating from foreign lands, emerging as the new players in the game of blood and pushing the State’s insurgent outfits, including the ULFA and NDFB, to roles of side players,” concedes a senior Assam Police official while talking to The Assam Tribune.

“We, however, are not undermining the strength of any outfit, be it ULFA, NDFB or some splinter group,” the official stated.

The year 2008 saw the ULFA suffering revolt in its ranks and the proximity of its top leaders with Bangladeshi groups drew flak even from its own members, resulting in unilateral ceasefire agreement by the A and C company of ULFA’s 28 battalion. The potent wing of the outfit decided to join the mainstream with top leaders including Mrinal Hazarika, Joon Bhuyan and Jiten Dutta, leading the cadres.

The Dima Halom Daogah (Jewel faction), popularly known as Black Widow, also made its presence felt, unleashing a reign of terror with killings and blasts in the North Cachar Hills, killing at least 25 people, including police and railway personnel, within a week in May.

In the aftermath of the blasts, the NDFB leadership in designated camps in the State decided to replace Ranjan Daimary as the C-in-C with Dhiren Boro.

The All Adivasi National Liberation Army (AANLA), fighting an armed battle for rights of the Adivasi people, suffered a major setback when its ‘C-in-C’ Mangra Oran alias David was arrested this month from Jharkhand.

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