GUWAHATI: Maoist rebels are trying to get a foothold in various districts of lower Assam with the help of Adivasi ultras. With security forces launching a combing operation against the Reds in upper Assam, Maoists have been trying to sneak into lower Assam districts and link up with disgruntled surrendered Adivasi militant groups who have for years been waiting for the peace process to begin.
Links between Maoists and adivasi ultras have come to fore after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) nabbed Pallab Borbora, a former rights activist and a former Ulfa associate who laid the foundation for Maoist insurgency in the state. “Borbora was earlier arrested with an Adivasi leader at a Maoist camp in Odisha. It reveals the nexus between the Upper Assam Leading Committee (UALC) and Adivasi groups. We have inputs that Maoists’ effort to extend their base into Goalpara, Kokrajhar, Dhubri, Kamrup, Sonitpur and Darrang districts is on,” said an intelligence official.
Borbora was arrested with general secretary of Assam Chah Janajati Suraksha Samiti (ACJSS), Tingrai Orang and another NE militant at a Maoist camp in the Saranda Forest bordering Odisha and Jharkhand, in 2011. The source added that the Reds have been trying to capitalize with the face that many of the Adivasi groups, including the various surrendered outfits of the community, who are now losing their patience due to the continuous delay in the peace process between the Adivasi outfits and governments.
“The Maoists are known to have specifically targeted victims of ethnic riots, floods and erosion, besides alienated sections in tribal communities for recruitment and to expand their ideological support base. They are taking advantage of the delay in the peace process of the Adivasi ultras. Maoists are taking them into confidence and recruiting them,” added the official.
Five Adivasi militant outfits – Adivasi Cobra Militants of Assam, Birsa Commando Force, Santhal Tiger Force, Adivasi People’s Army and Adivasi National Liberation Army – are constantly calling for a speedy peace process after they laid down arms on January 24 before the Union home minister P Chidambaram. “The government has been cheating us. We have been pressing for the peace talks and a fruitful result but if the delay continues then it will be difficult to keep all our boys from joining an arms revolution again,” said an Adivasi Cobra group leader.
Earlier, Tarjan Majhi, the Sonitpur District ‘commander’ of the Adivasi People’s Army (APA) in 2010, confessed that APA cadre established links with Maoists with the help of Ulfa hardliners. The NIA has been investigating the links between the Reds and the Manipur based militant groups.