Maoist-northeast militants linking up no cause of worry: Army chief

Shillong, July 19 (Calcutta Tube) Chief of Army Staff General V.K. Singh Monday said there is no cause of alarm over the possibility of the Maoists and northeast insurgents linking up.

‘There has no cause for alarm for the army on the possibility of ganging up between the Maoists and the northeast militants,’ he told reporters here.

Singh arrived in the Meghalaya capital Monday on a two-day visit to review the security scenario in the northeastern states.

Though, he said, extremist groups have linked up in the past and there were reports of the LTTE training certain groups and also of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-IM extending its expertise to certain groups, ‘but I am quite sure things are being handled well at various levels,’ the army chief said.

On the security situation in the northeast, Singh said: ‘The situation in northeast has improved by leaps and bounds, a lot of things have happened whether in Assam or Manipur, but what is needed now is how we administratively handle the situation in various ways.’

In reply to a query on the recent arrest of Chinese spies from Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland, the army chief did not seem to be unduly alarmed.

He said: ‘All countries take advantage of chinks in other countries. If your own house has got chinks, let us make sure that nothing goes wrong in our family and so that nobody will fish for trouble.’

Asked to comment on the prevailing security scenario in insurgency-fraught Manipur, he said, ‘Security wise it’s perfectly well (Manipur), but all other issues, you know very well.’

On security issues in Jammu and Kashmir, Singh said security forces have achieved a particular level of control of the situation. ‘What is needed now there is various initiatives have to come up in that state,’ he said.

On the recent train blast in Assam engineered by the outlawed National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), Singh termed such actions by the groups to show that they are ‘still there’.

‘(NDFB chief) Ranjan Daimary has been captured, the whole organisations is in disarray, they have to now prove by some action that they are still there and that’s why they resorted to such activities,’ he added.

The army chief, however, said that he is quite sure that if the NDFB cadres are handled properly they would come to the negotiating table or surrender.

The NDFB, which claimed responsibility for the train blast in Assam that killed a five-year-old, also threatened to blow up more passenger trains and attack buses as part of its stepped up offensive.

On the demand of repealing of the Armed Force (Special Powers) Act, the army chief reiterated that it acts like a ‘legal protection as we cannot have our people hauled up to the courts’.

‘Just like the normal police, who have legal protection when they operate in awkward situation, similarly when we deploy the army in such a situation where they have to face well armed and trained terrorist, they (army) require certain mode of legal protection. But how that is done we leave to the government of India,’ Singh said.

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