Amingaon (Assam): ‘Parallel aspirations’ of people living in a particular area usually leads to issues like insurgency, which has claimed over 8,000 lives in three-and-half decades of armed rebellions in Assam, top police officers said on Tuesday.
Addressing the ongoing Y20 summit here, Assam Director General of Police Gyanendra Pratap Singh said the government is working with the strategy to address the “parallel aspirations” of the people in order to solve the insurgency problem from the state.
“It was never about conflict reconciliation and differences. There is a paradigm change in government understanding — identifying different aspirations of people,” he added.
Issues like insurgency arise due to parallel aspirations of people residing in a particular set of geography or altogether different aspirations of some people, who take up arms to fulfil those ambitions, Singh said.
“The government is working as a whole to address the aspirations of people. Once people felt being part of the society, peace came to Assam. It is called reconciliation,” he added.
Number of foreign countries, with whom Assam and Northeast share international borders, have fuelled easy flow of arms into the state and the region, the top cop said, adding “there is a need to de-weaponise the system”.
The DGP, however, asserted that peace has fully returned to Assam, leading to withdrawal of the stringent Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) from most parts of the state.
“AFSPA is applicable to only around 27-28 per cent of Assam. Insurgency has gone from Assam, except in some districts of Upper Assam. That is also continuing due to Assam’s border with Arunachal Pradesh and close proximity to the international border,” he added.
Speaking on the occasion, Additional Director General of Police (Special Branch) Hiren Chandra Nath said youths are attracted towards militancy due to a “sense of deprivation, alienation and neglect”.
“During the last three-and-half decades of insurgency in Assam, we have lost over 4,000 civilians, more than 3,000 militants and around 1,000 security personnel. That’s the cost of militancy that Assam paid,” he added.
Assam Police is working on a four-pronged strategy while dealing with issues of armed rebellion, Nath said, adding “It is constant operation, constant negotiation, ceasefire and community policing”.
The ADGP also highlighted various central and state schemes, including financial assistance, to rehabilitate the surrendered militants in the state.
Joining as one of the panelists, surrendered United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) militant Bipul Kalita alais Pradip Bharali said only two per cent of the state’s population had supported their armed struggle for sovereignty and he left the banned outfit after spending 14 years.
“Now, we have set up an NGO and work in garbage collection. We do door-to-door garbage collection, mainly from medical colleges and other hospitals. We then dispose them scientifically,” he added.
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Former militant of National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) Binual Warry said: “We were lagging behind in everything, while the world was moving ahead with developments at its own pace. That was the main point (for joining militancy).”
He, however, accepted that their decision to join the insurgent movement was “wrong with wastage of lives and destruction of properties”.
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