Assam: BEHIND THE CURTAINS – When The Tough gets them Going  

The year 2020 began with good news for the Northeast. One of the most wanted and dreaded militant group, NDFB, has agreed to ceasefire

Guwahati–    By Mr. P K Sai

The year 2020 began with good news for the Northeast. One of the most wanted and dreaded militant group, NDFB, has agreed to ceasefire and opted for peace talks across the table. For once, the news has stirred the mainland India across the wide Brahmaputra, as the gp signed a MoS with Govt. Forums are busy giving and taking up the credit. The nation sees it as a great step towards peace in the region. With news of Daimary released in bail and Bidai-Batha, top NDFB leaders coming out of their hideouts, discussions have been hot. But as things progresses towards a positive end(?), are we forgetting the contributions of those tough men in uniform, those hardened soldiers, masters in CI Ops those who created the environment for the present day scenario?

Over the last three months or so, while the peace talks between the dreaded militant group NDFB and Govt Of India was in progress and gaining a momentum, an immense psychological pressure was being built up on the armed militants. Multiple steps were taken by the posted Armed Forces in the BODO populated districts of lower Assam. This was to keep them under tight vigilance and alert at all times. A force that was not in a mindset for any peace talk for over 15 years, to bring them to terms to talk, not only needs willingness but also the intense activities by the security forces that creates a conducive environment for the same is also highly important. The Indian Army played a crucial role in getting things in favour of peace talks and force them to accept the terms as per the benefit of the nation.

One such step included continuous and relentless area domination in jungles along the International borders in Lower Assam. Operations were launched to intensify the pressure. Meanwhile, the Govt and other security agencies took an effort to bring them to the negotiation table. It is to be noted that bringing an armed militant group to negotiation table is not easy and it never happens by one party agreeing to it. Not only such covert and overt operations developed a constant pressure to move and change locations, but also the scarcity of money, new recruits, ration and clothes were making the life challenging for the militants in the jungles of lower Assam.

OP Sunrise by the Myanmar Army along Indian border on terrorist camps were an added blow to the various factions of NDFB. This not only put them into administrative crisis like money and ration but this intensified operations in their own safe haven by various security forces in coordination with the state police and forest department stood as a big huddle for them. This coordinated operations by various security forces were new to them and they were failing in their strategy. The areas were being gradually sealed off and became restricted. Entry and exit to the jungles and forests along both the borders were strictly restricted and brought under direct control of the security forces. The militant organization that had suffered major leadership disagreement resulting into splitting to various factions, were almost breathing their last. The actions by the security forces in turn became a key factor to force the group to surrender.

The armed forces had intensified their covert operations from Nov 19 and to escape from the impact, the militants had to keep shifting their base adding to the overall misery they already were in. It was triggering in them the need to give away from the path of violence and come to agreement of signing a peace process. Life in the jungles were losing its value and the pressure from the social connections were rising.

The security forces with its intensified search operations were gaining success with multiple recoveries of war like stores, arms, weapons, administrative documents. This forced them towards slow realization that the security forces have already penetrated into their inner space and is becoming a menace for their operations. Last couple of months have been disastrous for NDFB when a unit of the Indian Army in a joint operations with police, Seema Suraksha Bal apprehended a NDFB(S) cadre along with arms & ammunition from Chirang, Assam on 07 Nov.

And the new year came as a big blow to them when on 5th and 15th of January, within a gap of ten days, two of their high ranking cadres from the leftover NDFB were killed by the security forces. Both of them were dreaded leaders and involved in various extortion and militant activities. This acted as a catalyst, due to which they rushed to a suspension of operation being signed hastily late into the night.

The first and foremost thing to begin the peace talk between the NDFB and Govt of India was the signed agreement of suspension of operation to cease operations immediately. It can thus be concluded that the multiple organized operations by the security forces acted like a net and forced them to submission. The pressure thus created has been so impactful that after NDFB-S president B Saoraigwra and general secretary BR Ferrenga along with 50 cadres walked into India through the Myanmar border, the NDFB-S vice-president and army chief, G Bidai along with his deputy Batha returned to the mainstream soon. Besides G Bidai alias Bishnu Goyary alias Haranga and Batha alias M Biban alias Binod Mushahary alias Gojo, around 600 cadres of the NDFB-S also came overground along with them.

As they say, when the going gets tough, the tough gets going. The Armed Forces through their act of multiple CI operations and civic action programs have played a crucial role to motivate the insurgents for peace talks. Lets hope all things turn toward the direction as expected and peace reigns in the region.


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