Army not sure about Maoist presence in Assam

TEZPUR: The Indian Army is not yet confirmed about the existence of Maoists in Assam. While both Delhi and Dispur are chalking out strategies to combat the Red rebels, the GOC of the Gajraj Corps, Lt General Shakti Gurung, said that the army does not yet have any concrete evidence about Maoists’ activities in Assam.

Though the state police claimed to have shot down four top rebels, including a local commander, in an encounter at Sadiya in Tinsukia district last week, the GOC said that the army is still verifying the fact.

“We are yet to get any concrete evidence about Maoist presence in the state. Until we get enough evidence, we can’t say anything about their existence in the state. Though police have four Maoist leaders have been killed, we need to verify this from our side too,” Gurung told mediapersons on the sidelines of a felicitation program here.

The GOC suspects that Maoists might have come here to explore the arms sourcing route or to asses a support base. “They might have come to check out the arms route in the state. But in the absence of evidence, we can’t say anything,” he added.

Sources in army intelligence further said that Maoists rebels in Assam are now only trying to create a support base and their activities here are at a very initial stage. “Though have talked about ideologies, a day’s insurgency is not about ideology but rather about criminology. The insurgents are only gun-running right now,” said the source.

Earlier, the state home department said that the dead ultras in Sadiya include top Maoist leader Siddhartha Borgohain. The other three killed cadres have been identified as Rajib Gogoi, Arup Chetia and Kamala Burhagohain. Three AK 47s, two grenades and a huge cache of ammunition have been recovered from their possession.

In February, the ministry of home affairs confirmed Maoists’ entry in the northeast and their association with several militant outfits of the region, mainly the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of Manipur.

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