Archives E-Mail this article

MHA: Assam Security Scenario Improving

POSTED ON 7 SEPTEMBER 2013

arunav goswami
research fellow
, centre for development and peace studies

The security scenario in the state of Assam has been improving over the years. This was stated in the latest Annual Report 2012-13 of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), according to which the security situation in Assam has improved since early 2010. However, the same report mentions that Assam and Manipur still accounts for the majority of the incidents of violence in the northeastern region.

During 2012, Assam recorded a total of 169 incidents of insurgency-related violence, in which 27 civilians and 5 security force personnel were killed (See Table Below). These figures are slightly higher than 2011, when 145 incidents of insurgency-related violence were recorded in which 18 civilians and 14 security force personnel were killed. However, this is quite less compared to 2010, when 53 civilians and 12 security force personnel were killed in 251 incidents of violence. The insurgent outfits involved in these incidents include the anti-talk faction of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), which has now been rechristened as ULFA-Independent (ULFA-I), the anti-talk faction of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland and Karbi Peoples’ Liberation Tigers (KPLT).

Security Situation in Assam during 2005-2012

 

 

2005

 

2006

 

2007

 

2008

 

2009

 

2010

 

2011

 

2012

 

Incidents

 

398

 

413

 

474

 

 

387

 

424

 

251

 

145

 

169

Insurgents arrested/ killed/surrendered

544

752

759

1237

1259

1026

542

1228

 SFs killed

7

32

27

18

22

12

14

5

 Civilians Killed

173

164

287

245

152

53

18

27

Ethnic violence broke out in the districts of Kokrajhar, Chirang and Dhubri during July-August 2012. These clashes led to the death of 99 persons and more than 4.85 lakh people were displaced. The situation has improved now and as on March 7, 2013, more than 4.80 lakh persons had returned to their homes, the MHA Annual Report stated. There was also violence in Goalpara district during February 2013, where there were protests against the holding of Panchayat elections ahead of the Rabha Hasong Autonomous Council elections in areas that fall under the Council. The protests led to the death of 14 persons in police firing and death of 7 persons in group clashes. More than 19,000 persons took refuge in relief camps set up by the state government during those clashes. The annual report stated that as on March 2, 2013, 8,741 persons were staying in the relief camps, while the rest had returned to their homes.

The year 2012-13 turned out to be good for peace parleys. On October 8, 2012, the government signed a Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) with both factions of the insurgent group Dima Halam Daogah (DHD), following which both the factions disbanded - DHD-Jewel faction (DHD-J) on November 27, 2012 and DHD-Nunisa faction (DHD-N) on March 9, 2013. Peace talks are presently going on with pro-talk faction of the ULFA and NDFB. The MHA annual report stated that though the government is ready to talk with any outfit which is willing to abjure violence, lay down arms and agree to abide by the Indian Constitution, however, it will not talk to splinter groups of those outfits, if formed in future.

The problem of illegal migration from Bangladesh has been rocking Assam for many years. Minister of State for Home Affairs, Mullappally Ramachandran, on March 20, 2013, had stated in the Rajya Sabha that Foreigners Tribunals set up in Assam had declared 23,441 persons as illegal migrants during the period 1985-2012 but out of these only 2445 persons were deported to Bangladesh. In order to check the illegal migration, various organizations have been demanding a fast finish to the fencing work along the Indo-Bangladesh border. The MHA Annual Report 2012-13 states that 222.67 km out of the sanctioned 229.03 km of border fencing have been completed (up to December 31, 2012). According to the report, delays in fencing certain stretches has been due to some areas being riverine/low lying areas, population residing within 150 yards of the border, pending land acquisition cases and protests by border population.

The situation seems to be improving. However, there are still a few points of concern. In the Dima Hasao district, although the major insurgent outfit DHD have disbanded, outfits like Hill Tiger Force (HTF) and Dimasa National Security Force (DNSF) are trying to fill in the vacuum. In Karbi Anglong, KPLT is increasingly getting involved in various insurgent activities. In addition to that, the Maoists are slowly trying to make inroads into Assam. Proper precautionary steps need to be taken by the government immediately on these fronts, so that the state does not have to witness another brutal cycle of insurgency and violence in the near future.