Maoist Uprising in Assam: The Pull Factors
|POSTED ON 22 AUGUST 2012
CDPS intern summer 2012
A new threat to Assam’s peace and security is looming large. The government and the intelligence community have now confirmed that the Maoists have actually penetrated into the State and have managed to extend the ‘red corridor’ to India’s Northeast. This is no doubt a startling fact, though it may not come as a surprise to many, as way back in 2005-2006, the threat from the Naxals seemed real in Assam with the Maoists setting up bases in Goalpara and Sonitpur districts. By now, the presence of the Maoists in the region can no longer be ignored by anyone.
For the first time, concrete evidence regarding the Maoists’ presence in Assam came to light when on 9 May 2012, the Assam Police gunned down four Maoist guerrillas in an encounter in a remote village in Sadiya in Tinsukia district. Among the deceased, was Siddhartha Buragohain, who was reportedly the head of the Maoists' State armed wing. Even the alleged in-charge of Maoist operations in Assam, Indranil Chanda alias Ajit Chanda, was arrested by the NIA in Kolkata on 23 May 2012. The Director General of Assam Police, Jayanta Narayan Choudhury, said that the Assam Police has identified 74 Maoist cadres, although they believe, the actual number would be around 100-150. According to intelligence sources, there has been a growing Maoist presence in the eastern Assam districts of Tinsukia, Dibrugarh and Sivasagar and they are pretty much active along the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border and are trying to form an armed wing in western and northern Assam. A startling revelation came to light regarding the link between the Maoists and the ULFA, as the ULFA 'c-in-c' Paresh Barua himself conceded that the ULFA has a tactical understanding with the Maoists. “The ULFA has a tactical understanding with the Indian Maoists, because both have a common enemy in the government that runs this country”, Baruah said in an interview to a local English daily. He said that the relationship is not new and dates back to at least 1996. “The Indian colonial government is also viewed as an enemy by the Maoists. Our enemy is also the same and so there is an understanding with them,'' the newspaper quoted Paresh Baruah. Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi also voiced concern at the growth of Maoists in the state and their links with the ULFA. It is interesting to note that, while in states outside the Northeast, the Maoists have penetrated rather quickly among the Adivasis who have been alienated from their land by mining and other projects, in Assam they have not been able to gain a strong foothold in the tea growing districts, where Assam's Adivasi population is basically concentrated in. Therefore, it is believed that the CPI (Maoists) have chosen to build up its base in the backward areas primarily inhabited by the Tai-Ahom, Moran and Matak communities. The Police have also warned that the Maoists are sowing the seeds of their movement in the State and are in the process of identifying potential recruits as they push their ideology among the people.
Origin and ideals of Maoism in India
The Maoist problem in India has a long history attached to it. The words Naxalite or Maoist are both generic terms used to refer to various militant Communist groups operating in different parts of India under different organizational setups. The term Naxalites comes from Naxalbari, a small village in West Bengal, where a section of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) led by Charu Majumdar, Kanu Sanyal and Jangal Santhal initiated a violent uprising in 1967.
The Chinese Premier, Mao Zedong, provided ideological leadership for the Naxalbari movement. In 1967, Naxalites organized the All India Coordination Committee of Communist Revolutionaries (AICCCR), and later broke away from CPM. Violent uprisings were organized in several parts of the country. In 1969, the AICCCR gave birth to the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (CPI-ML). Almost all the Naxalite groups trace their origin to the CPI (ML). A separate group from the beginning was the Maoist Communist Centre, which evolved out of the Dakshin Desh group (it was a group that was nicknamed Dakshin Desh and retained a separate identity and remained outside the CPI (ML) when it was founded in 1969). Another important underground Communist party in India is the People’s War Group (PWG), which was founded in Andhra Pradesh in 1980 by Kondapalli Seetharamaiah. Finally, the Communist Party of India (Maoist) was founded on 21 September 2004, through the merger of the People's War Group and the Maoist Communist Centre (MCC).
In 2006, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh referred to Maoism as "the single biggest internal security challenge ever faced by our country". The Maoists aim to overthrow the Government of India through 'people’s war'. The Maoists share the belief in the 'annihilation of class enemies' and in extreme violence as a means to secure organizational goals . In short, the Maoists denounce globalization as a war on the people by market fundamentalists and the caste system as a form of social oppression. The Maoists say that they are fighting for the rights of the tribes in the forest belt around central India, namely, Chattisgharh, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand, Maharastra and West Bengal. Now, new organizational expansion has been reported in Uttarakhand, Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.
Emergence of Maoism in Assam
Reports suggest that the threat from Naxals first appeared in Assam way back in 2005-2006, with the Maoists setting up base in Goalpara and Sonitpur districts. At least seven Naxals were killed by security forces in these two districts, although the slain were passed off as members of local militant groups. In his address at the Conference of Governors held at New Delhi on October 29-30, 2011, Assam Governor J.B. Patnaik revealed that the advent of the Maoist surfaced to the forefront when one Shashikanta Rabha, a Maoist activist, was apprehended in 2006 at Goalpara (in western Assam). In the year 2008, the then military chief of the CPI-Maoist, Mallojula Koteswara Rao, who was popularly known as Kishenji, was reported to have visited Thoubal in Manipur. He is said to have held a meeting in October 2008 with the Manipur based insurgent group, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), and both had adopted a resolution to back each others’ interests. A team from the ULFA, led by Partha Gogoi, was believed to have attended the meeting in Manipur under the orders from the ULFA military chief Paresh Baruah. The nexus between the Maoists and the PLA was also confirmed by detained leaders of the Manipuri insurgent group. The arrested leaders also revealed that three PLA leaders imparted combat and communication training to CPI (Maoist) cadres of five states (Orissa, Chattisgarh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka) for 39 days between September 11 and November 20, 2010 in Jharkhand. Then, on 8 June 2011, the Ministry of Home Affairs ordered the NIA to investigate the link between the Maoists and the PLA. On 21 December 2011, a delegation of the Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha, a trade union body affiliated to the ruling Congress in the State, met the Chief Minister of Assam and briefed him about the Maoists venture in trying to recruit youth belonging to the tea community. In fact, the Maoists are also said to be paying a fixed payroll of Rs 2,500 to its cadres.
It has now become official that the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh frontier is slowly turning into a Maoist den with cadres of the anti-talk faction of the ULFA headed by Paresh Baruah providing arms training to the ‘red rebels’. Well placed sources say that the anti-talk faction of the ULFA extending help to the Maoist was a well-calculated strategy, since the split in the outfit weakened its earlier influence. A large group headed by Chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa has already entered into a peace dialogue with the Government of India. Moreover, it has been known that Paresh Baruah was looking for force multipliers and the promising Maoists on the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh were the sort of allies that he and his group were looking for. One of the communications from a central agency under the Union Ministry of Home Affairs says that at present the Maoists are operating in the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border in the name of the Upper Assam Leading Committee (UALC). It also says the UALC is functioning with distinct wings for political and military activities under the command of designated ‘political commissars’ and ‘military commander.’ The Intelligence Bureau (IB) had also noted in September 2011 that the CPI (Maoist) has been engaging in activities in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh “under the garb of local movements, including the Mega Dam Resistance Forum…” The Governor of Assam, J.B. Patnaik has also said publicly that Maoists in the State are functioning under various banners including the Mega Dam Resistance Forum . Later on, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi also made statements endorsing what the IB and the Governor had been saying .
‘Pull Factors’ boosting the growth of Maoism in Assam
Some of the ‘pull factors’ that have helped the ‘red brigade’ to establish itself in Assam and elsewhere in the region are:
(i) Lack of employment and educational opportunities:
It is a global phenomenon that people living in places where employment and educational opportunities are missing, usually get frustrated and a section of them, mainly the youth, resort to take up arms. Insurgency spreads very easily in places where people are neglected by the government. One of the resource-rich districts of India is Assam’s Tinsukia district. The Oldest oil refinery in the country is situated at Digboi in Tinsukia district and places like Margherita and Ledo in the district are famous for open cast mining. Tinsukia is one of the premier commercial centres in Assam. On the other hand, Sadiya, which is a sub-division of the district and now considered to be a den for the Maoists, ironically is one of the poorest sub-divisions in the whole of the country. This has certainly provided an advantage point for the Maoists and they are trying to utilise this by establishing their base in such a backward place like Sadiya. The backwardness of the area could be well understood when one takes into account that Sadiya has just one degree-level college and that too, has only the arts stream. There are only three senior secondary schools, and of these, only one school has a centre for the students to sit for their High School Leaving Certificate Examinations. All these facts make it very much clear that the Maoists in Assam have found opportunities to establish themselves among the people who have suffered poverty and deprivation when it comes to availability of education and jobs in their region.
The Union Minister of State for Home Jitendra Singh said that "the Government and the political system are to be blamed for the Maoist problem in India". According to him, the Maoist problem branched from years of negligence and underdevelopment in different parts of the country and the government and the political system in India are to be blamed for that. Poor development and lack of job opportunities are the key driving force for unemployed youth to join the Maoist fold. It is not because of ideology, but for lack of any option whatsoever or for small financial gains, as it has already been mentioned above that the Maoists in Assam are paying regular salaries to its cadres. Moreover, on the question of ‘ideology’ behind the Maoist cadres in Assam, the Director General of Assam Police has himself alleged that 'ideology' is not the motivating factor for the Maoist cadre. "It is not a question of ideology. Some of the cadre whom we apprehended earlier had no idea about the Maoist ideology. In fact, many of them are former ULFA linkmen," he stated. Therefore, the current situation suggests that cadres joining the Maoist are basically unemployed youths, frustrated for the lack of livelihood opportunities in the far-flung areas of Assam.
(ii) Lack of policing in the region:
The state of Arunachal Pradesh is divided into seventeen districts, out of which Lower Dibang Valley and Lohit districts are the two districts in which the Maoists are believed to have set up their bases or camps. Lower Dibang Valley ranks as the tenth least populous district in the country and according to the 2011 census, the district has a population of 53,986 with a population density of 14 inhabitants per square kilometre. Again, according to the 2011 census, Lohit district has a population of 145,538 with a population density of 28 inhabitants per square kilometre. Agriculture is the primary form of employment in both the districts. According to Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D), as on January 1, 2009, the total police per 100 sq. km. of area at all-India level stands at 49.08, whereas it is only 8.21 in Arunachal Pradesh. In fact, in Lower Dibang valley and Lohit districts, the combined police strength hardly numbers 200. These kind of appalling numbers show that vast areas in both the districts remain virtually almost un-policed. Such a kind of situation presents a very congenial atmosphere for the growth of the Maoists in the region. Moreover, the lack of police in the area helps the Maoists to setup their camps in the dense forests which are located in the two districts.
In Assam too, the situation is very deplorable with the ratio of police in the state being only 60.45 against a lakh of population in comparison to the all India average of 107.72. The strength of police in the Sadiya sub-division is worse. Thus, the terribly low number of police in the areas where the Maoists are basically concentrating helps them all the more to consolidate their position.
(iii) Demographic and geographical factors of the region:
Sadiya is located at 27.83°N and 95.67°E with an average elevation of 123 m (404 ft). It was the extreme north-east frontier station during the British Raj and now is a small town in Tinsukia district. On the other hand, Tinsukia is an industrial district of Assam and it occupies an area of 3,790 square kilometres. The district has a population of 1,316,948 according to the 2011 census with a population density of 347 inhabitants per square kilometre. The district has a sizeable population of backward communities like the Adivasis (tea tribes), Morans, Muttocks etc. The Sadiya sub-division is mostly surrounded by forested Himalayan mountains. The terrain of the area, makes it very suitable for guerrilla activities to flourish. The nearby hills and forests definitely provide a safe sanctuary for the Maoists to carry forward their unlawful activities. The two districts of Lower Dibang valley and Lohit in Arunachal Pradesh have a very hilly terrain which is mostly covered by forests; making it unreachable for most security forces. Moreover, the close proximity of the area with the Myanmar border makes it a very congenial base for the Maoists. Therefore, we can easily make out that both the demographic and geographic features in and around the Sadiya area is very much in favour of the Maoists.
(iv) Poor linkages of the region with mainland Assam:
The Sadiya sub-division is quite underdeveloped in terms of infrastructure and communication network. To reach Sadiya, one has to cross the expansive Brahmaputra by ferry services from Saikhowaghat. There is still no bridge connecting Sadiya to the mainland parts of the district. The condition of the roads in the region is more than pathetic and the transportation facilities are also rather poor. Same is the condition in Lohit district of Arunachal Pradesh with the majority area being highly inaccessible. It was only in 2004 that a permanent bridge has been made operational across the Lohit at the holy site of Parashuram Kund, giving round-the-year connection to Tezu, which is the district headquarters. The lack of road facilities in the area also makes it difficult to mobilise the security forces for carrying out anti-Maoist operations.
The ground-reality in Sadiya sub-division, which has a population of around 1.20 lakh (2011 census) and shares a border with Arunachal Pradesh, is even more appalling. The Assam Government has not been able to appoint a Block Development Officer (BDO) at Sadiya for three years now, with an officer holding charge of BDO. There is also no Deputy Inspector of Schools and no Child Development Project Officer (CDPO) available in the sub-division. Even the mini Primary Health Centre at Sonpura inaugurated by the Assam Health Department on 13 September 2011 had no doctor posted till November 1, 2011. For reasons baffling to most people, it was being run by a pharmacist. The actual truth behind the lack of officers in the place is that, even though the officers are posted there, they simply do not bother to come and work in an inaccessible place like Sadiya.
(v) Ease in establishment of alliances between the Maoists and the local insurgent groups:
The fact that the Maoists have struck alliances with various local insurgent groups has been confirmed by government agencies. Reports say that Kolkata is fast becoming a hub for the supply of arms and ammunitions following the perilous collaboration between various insurgent groups based in the Northeast and the Maoists. A member of the Manipur-based People's Liberation Army (PLA), named K Arnold Singh was arrested from Siliguri in April, 2012. The NIA filed a charge sheet against Arnold accusing him of supplying arms and ammunitions to the Maoist cadres. Further, investigations have revealed that Arnold had set up a PLA office in Kolkata's Tollygunge area in 2006. Several meetings took place between 2006 and 2008, wherein the PLA had agreed to provide the Maoists arms and ammunition in lieu of explosives, mainly ammonium nitrate. In 2009, the PLA reportedly helped the Maoists set up camps in Odisha and Jharkhand and then in 2010, they carried out training for the Maoists in Jharkhand's Saranda forest. Investigators say that Arnold had rented one more house in Kolkata's Jadavpur area. This Kolkata office received money from the Maoists for arms and communication devices.
It has been mentioned that the Maoists have also established links with the anti-talk faction of the ULFA. From the various links that the Maoists have established, it will become easier for them to spread their activities into new areas of Assam. The local insurgent groups have been operating in the area for a considerable number of years now. Their in-depth knowledge about the region and its people will be a big boon for the Maoists. Moreover, the local insurgent groups in the region have been seen to be growing weak in the recent years. Therefore, they too, will be more than willing to extend a helping hand to the Maoists, as they are in dire need of force-multipliers among themselves. With supply of arms and logistical support being made available by north eastern militant groups, the Maoist movement will now only gain momentum.
According to a note that was prepared by the Deputy Commissioner (DC), Tinsukia district, dated August 11, 2011, certain significant observations were made regarding the factors as to which the district needs immediate attention, which are as under:
• Presence of many anti-social elements and frustrated unemployed or under employed youth, who breed such elements
• Prevalence of support for militancy and presence of militants in certain areas
• Prevalence of remote and backward areas that are as yet hardly touched by development administration in a commensurate manner
• Prevalence of relatively backward communities – Moran, Adivasi (Tea Tribe) in a sizeable strength in the district
Some major Maoist related incidents in Assam:
• February 12, 2011: Orissa police arrests three persons from Assam – Aditya Bora from Tingkhong, Asik Sabor and Tingraj Orang from Naharkatia in eastern Assam’s Dibrugarh district. Bora, who is said to be a central committee member of the CPI (Maoist), was arrested by security forces during joint combing operations in Saranda forest bordering Orissa - Jharkhand.
• August 18, 2011: Tinsukia Police and the Army arrests five Maoist cadres. Aditya Bora, who is said to be a central committee member of the CPI (Maoist), escapes because he couldn’t be recognized.
• September 18, 2011: Cadres of Upper Assam Leading Committee (UALC), the name in which the CPI (Maoist) is operating in Assam – Arunachal border, snatches four .315 rifles and 64 rounds of ammunition from forest security camps located in the 380 square kilometer Dibru-Saikhowa National Park in Tinsukia district of eastern Assam.
• October 4, 2011: UALC cadres attack India Reserve Battalion (IRB) personnel at Ambikapur, in the Sadiya sub-division of Tinsukia district, in which one IRB trooper is injured and a 9mm carbine snatched.
• February 2, 2012: ULFA (Anti Talks Faction) ‘Vice Chairman’ Paresh Baruah confirms his group’s links with CPI-Maoist. The ULFA has a tactical understanding with the Indian Maoists, because both have a common enemy in the government that runs this country, ULFA 'c-in-c' Paresh Baruah has said.
• February 21, 2012: DGP Jayanta Narayan Choudhury says that CPI-Maoist activity in the State has been reported in seven districts. A senior Police official said that the Maoists have established three command centers – near the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh, Assam-Nagaland and in Assam-West Bengal borders.
• March 2, 2012: CPI-Maoist cadres issue extortion notes to two doctors working at Chapakhowa First Referral Unit hospital in Chapakhowa in Sadiya Sub-Division of Tinisukia district about a week back.
• April 29, 2012: According to intelligence studies, CPI-Maoist has raised its armed wing in the state by the name of Revolutionary People’s Guerilla Army.
• May 9, 2012: Four CPI-Maoist cadres were killed and one police commando got injured in an encounter at Deupani Borgura Mising Baskati gaon in Sadiya sub-division in Tinsukia district. The slain Maoists were identified as Siddhartha Buragohain, Rajeev Gogoi alias Medang, Arup Chetria alias Iyan and Kamala Gogoi. Siddhartha Buragohain was the ‘second-in-command’ of the armed wing of the CPI-Maoist in the State.
• May 11, 2012: 12 armed suspected CPI-Maoist enters Kheranibari village, neighbouring Deupani Borgura Nepali Baskati gaon, in Tinsukia district wearing Army and Police uniforms, and entered three houses on the pretext of searching for militants and escaped with over INR 2,00,000 including gold ornaments.
Implications of Maoism in Assam in the present and the near future:
Though peace was round the corner in Assam with major insurgent groups of the State either giving up arms or entering into talks with the Government, the latest entrant in the insurgency scenario of the State has been the ‘red brigade’ or the Maoists. In recent times, the notion of citizenship has undergone a change, which is newly defined as people’s right to equality and equal opportunities, right against displacement and right to freedom from corruption, right to livelihood and sustenance and right over natural resources (like oil, coal, forests etc) – irrespective of one’s ethnic and communal identity. According to this new notion, the presently established ‘centralized control over resources’ must go. Besides, people also raise their voice of protest against the government’s inability to protect them against such natural calamities as floods and droughts, against man-made disasters like massive population displacement induced by so-called development projects and big dams. The Maoists in Assam, too, are sure to be using this new notion of citizenship in justifying their fight as ‘the peoples’ fight against the oppressive measures taken up by the Government’. On December 29, 2011, Assam Power Minister Pradyut Bordoloi stated that Maoist elements were infiltrating into the anti-dam movement in the State. “We are checking the background of the protestors. We have got information on some, and we are compiling a dossier on them. These elements are basically driven by Maoist ideology and their religion is to create disorder and unruliness,” Bordoloi told at a news conference in Guwahati . If the Maoists, under the guise of popular movements become successful, they will be able to gain a considerable support base, especially in the rural and backward areas of the State, people who will largely be affected by the construction of the mega-dams. Security forces in February 2012 unearthed a mega plan for the Northeast region and parts of Myanmar and Bangladesh that was being designed by the Maoist rebels. Official sources said that the Maoists have designed a plan for creation of a confederation of states comprising the Northeast region, parts of Myanmar and the Sylhet area of Bangladesh, and according to the plan, the states of the confederation would be created to represent smaller nationalities of the area. Sources also added that the Maoists have hatched a plan to set up a strong base in Myanmar and that is why they have started concentrating on setting up bases in Arunachal Pradesh to create a route to go to Myanmar, as the creation of a strong base in Myanmar will help in providing a safe shelter for the top leaders of the Maoist groups whenever it is necessary as operational pressure against them is increasing in several parts of the country. All these findings make it very easy to get a clear picture about the massive plans that the Maoists are supposed to be devising for almost the whole of the north-eastern region of the country.
In the financial year of 2011, the state of Maharashtra recorded a total of Rs. 10, 29,621 million in its GSDP (Gross State Domestic Product) and its Growth Rate being 14.23 per cent, while in Assam, in the same period, the GSDP was recorded to be only Rs. 1.04,218 million and its Growth Rate stood at 12.70 per cent. Even though Assam is progressing, it is far behind other states like Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, etc. These facts clearly indicate how Assam is lagging behind compared to an industrially-developed state in India. The unemployment rate in Assam, both rural and urban (for all ages) is 61 per 1000 persons as of 2010. This mass unemployment prevailing among the rural youth gives the Maoists an upper hand in recruiting new cadres to expand their fighting force. The Maoists are also said to have tried to gain an entry at two levels: first at the underground level, by way of forging tactical alliances with some insurgent groups of the northeast and second at the overground level, by penetrating into the ranks of various civil society organizations. According to the Deputy Commissioner’s note that was earlier mentioned, the insurgency-hit areas of the Tinsukia district require the following steps to be taken up:
• Focussed attention of field level development works
• Regular attention by officers of all levels, both ADCs (additional deputy commissioner) and SDOs (sub-divisional officer) as well as departmental officers, both for implementation of the schemes as well as ensuring adequate monitoring and supervision.
• Engagement of the people of the area in development works in a participative endeavour
• Maintenance of open channels of communication with the people of the area – as feedback and prompt grievance redressal is paramount
• Lastly, development of an equal partnership between the administrative agencies and the people of such areas is mandatory to wholesome development of those areas.
As of now, the Maoists are in their basic stages of trying to expand their cause among the Adivasi population of the State. The population of the Adivasis, numbered to be around 80 lakh in Assam according to Government estimates , will become a major factor in giving the Maoist cause a fillip if they decide to join the ranks of the Maoists. Moreover, the Adivasis have been in Assam for generations now and their knowledge about the State’s demography and other landforms will be very much beneficial for the Maoists in trying to expand their areas of operation. Therefore, it remains to be seen in the near future whether the Adivasis of Assam, too, will extend their support to the Maoists or not, as the Adivasis of central India forms the backbone of the Maoists who operate mainly in the north Indian states like Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh. Hence, the threat always remains that the marginalised Adivasi community in Assam might serve as a potential base for the Maoists. If the Maoists are able to form a solid base in Assam, it will be very hard for the Government to uproot them without bloodshed. As for the present, the Government should devise new plans and policies to provide job and livelihood opportunities to the youth of the backward areas of Assam and also try their level best in fixing the problem of providing connectivity to the far-flung areas of the State. Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has said that the state government has appealed to the central government for some special schemes to tackle the Maoists and that joint operations along with other states in the region would only help in tackling the problem. But all is not well in Assam, as it is in persistent danger of becoming the next Maoist hub in the country. The Government must formulate a proper development oriented action plan which is crucial to thwart the Maoist uprising in Assam.
Do the Maoists pose a threat to Assam? It’s no longer an uncertain question by now with so many reports confirming the fact that Maoists have made inroads into the State and are pushing forward to make their movement firmly rooted. Reports also say that the Maoists are trying to provide support to the anti-dam agitators at Lower Subansiri. All these point to the fact that Maoists are giving their level best to gain popularity among the general masses. The Maoist uprising in Assam may be blown into a full-fledged armed struggle by the people living especially in the backward regions of the State. The Maoists have also played their cards well in choosing the economically and industrially backward Sadiya as their base. This gives them an added impetus of recruiting new cadres as the majority youth of that area are unemployed. Moreover, the close proximity of Sadiya to the dense forests covering the Assam – Arunachal Pradesh border, is advantageous for the Maoists to setup training camps and to hide themselves from the security forces. The area is not far away from the Myanmar border, with which the north eastern states share a porous border and this will also be of help to the Maoists in brining arms and supplies from other neighbouring countries. An effective security and development strategy has to be formulated at the earliest to check that the Maoists from filling up the void that has been created due to the ethnic insurgent groups giving up arms and joining the mainstream. Assam may not see a spurt in violence in the immediate future, but it might become an arduous task for the Government to check the rise of the Maoists in various places of the State in the coming days. It is high time for the policymakers in New Delhi and Assam, to devise a strategic plan of action and act upon that to tackle the Maoists, before it is too late to control the situation.