Assam parties not bullish on Operation All Out

Assam parties not bullish on Operation All Out

 Political outfits in Assam are not too confident of the initial success of Operation All Out, under which the Indian Army and Central paramilitary forces are making inroads into National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Songbijit), or NDFB(S), strongholds.

The leaders feel a large-scale operation to seize illegal arms floating around in the region is the real solution.

Sources said more than 1,000 AK-47 combat rifles, among thousands of other sophisticated weapons, are available in the underground market. Also, several operations in the past have not been of much help. A senior Assam Police official admitted that thousands of illegal arms are still in people's hands in the Bodoland region, and most of them have either come from surrendered rebels or from Myanmar and Bangladesh.

The most recent operation to search and seize illegal arms was launched before the Lok Sabha elections in April with much fanfare, but nothing came of it.
“The Congress-run state government just wanted to make a statement that it was trying to make things better.

In the operation that lasted a few days, the administration seized just 52 firearms, many of which are country-made and improvised. The last few times militants have surrendered, they didn’t give up arms. The real cache continues to remain untapped,” said the official.

Pramod Bodo, president of All Bodo Students’ Union, agreed that illegal arms are a major problem. Calling for “national and international intervention,” he said it was needed “because the situation has been volatile for four decades”.

Several military operations have taken place in Assam since the 1987, including Operation Rhino against the United Liberation Front of Asom (Ulfa) and Operation Tiger against Bodo Liberation Tigers.

“Nothing came of these operations. The Unified Command was formed a few years ago, but extremist groups have survived. The Centre’s intervention should be more intense, and operations should continue even after the current situation is resolved. Only then can there be peace,” he said.

All Adivasi Students’ association of Assam president Rafael Kujur pointed out that militants are still roaming free in some places in Sonitpur district. “No real result will come out of the ongoing operation because there is no real political will,” he said.

Kokrajhar Independent MP and former Ulfa commander Heera Saraniya said the NDFB militants possess AK-47 rifles and such sophisticated pistols that not even the Assam Police have. “The situation can be handled if the government has the will. It’s a mystery why they don’t take proper steps,” he said.

Saraniya, who also does not have much faith in the Operation All Out, said: “Security forces were sent earlier only during times of crises. They should be stationed here till the situation is solved.”

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