Security forces intensify hunt for Bodo militants

Security forces intensify hunt for Bodo militants

Security forces Friday stepped up operations against Bodo militants in Assam, after Home Minister Rajnath Singh ruled out talks with them after they massacred unarmed tribals.

A senior army officer said helicopters were being used in the campaign against the anti-talk faction of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB).

The 50 companies of the paramilitary forces rushed to the state by the central government have been deployed in the violence hit areas and along the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border in Sonitpur district as well as the India-Bhutan border, official sources said Friday.

Army spokesman Lt. Col. S. Newton said the counter-insurgency operations had been intensified in and around the districts where Bodo militants massacred dozens of adivasis two days before Christmas.

The army has been continuing its crackdown against the NDFB and other militants. But the dynamics have changed after the massacre in Kokrajhar, Sonitpur and Chirang districts, officials said.

"The operations will be intensified in the days to come," one official told IANS.

The army is using helicopters in some areas. "The helicopters are not being used for offensive but for surveillance work," Newton said.

The helicopters are helping to trace the movement of militants, particularly in the dense forests along the India-Bhutan border and in the Assam-Arunchal Pradesh border.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh visited Kokrajhar and Sonitpur districts and reviewed the law and order situation.

The minister called for time bound action against the militants and told the Assam government that New Delhi will provide all help to deal with the situation.

The Assam government says some 2,500 people have taken shelter in relief camps. The figures are likely to increase as more people, both Adivasis and Bodos, have been deserting their houses in remote areas of the three districts fearing more violence.

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