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Chidambaram concerned over growing Maoist influence in Assam

Guwahati(PTI): Union Home Minister P Chidambaram today expressed concerned over growing Maoist influence in Assam and their links with insurgent outfits of the state as well as Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI.

During a top level review meeting at the Raj Bhavan here, Chidambaram, who is on a visit to the north east, expressed concern over growing activities of Maoists and outlined strategies to counter the threat, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi told reporters.

“The insurgency problem was discussed in detail and the Maoists influence with the active help from ISI and links with ULFA, NDFB and KNLF were on top of the meeting’s agenda and strategies to check it were discussed,” he said.

Chidambaram also stressed on increased border vigil as Myanmar has emerged as a hub of NE-based terrorists with most of the insurgent outfits of the region having base in that country, he said.
“The union home minister also made it clear that doors for negotiation with all the major outfits, including the anti-talk faction of ULFA were open,” Gogoi said.

The meeting, attended by top police, army and paramilitary force officials, identified the latest link the anti-talk faction of ULFA has established with GNLF of West Bengal.
“This aspect was discussed in the meeting along with plans to counter it,” Gogoi said.

The chief minister said he has demanded more security forces in Assam — 125 companies of para military forces — as the 86 companies deployed now was “not sufficient”.
“Although the union home minister felt that the law and order situation in Assam was improving, we stressed on more security forces to prevent any possible violence,” he said.

On the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act in force in Assam, he said there is no opposition to it in the state unlike in other areas of the region. “The most important aspect is how well it is implemented. Care should be taken that there is no case of misuse,” Gogoi said.

On the controversy surrounding the formation of National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), Gogoi said he supported the move.

“All concerned should cooperate and I do not feel it will harm the country’s federal structure,” he said.

Immediately after the meeting, Chidambaram left for Shillong.

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